Lhyfe and AREC Occitanie building new hydrogen production site


France – Lhyfe and AREC Occitanie have started construction on the Lhyfe Occitanie production facility in Bessières (Haute-Garonne), which is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.

The plant is one of the levers of the Occitanie Region’s H2 Corridor project aimed at decarbonising goods and passenger transport.

The Lhyfe Occitanie site will be the third production site for the company after Bouin in Vendée and Buléon in Morbihan. The plant is funded 80% by Lhyfe and 20% by AREC Occitanie and is located in the Triangle business park in Bessières, approximately 40 kilometres from Toulouse, on an 8,000 square metres land.

The facility will have the capacity to produce two tonnes of green and renewable hydrogen per day, equivalent to a generating capacity of 5 MW, with the possibility of ramping up production to meet growth in hydrogen uses and needs in the region.

Occitanie H2 Corridor

The project was selected by the Occitanie Region as part of the Occitanie H2 Corridor scheme. The financing agreement for the project was signed with the Occitanie Region in November 2022. The region is providing €5.9 million to support the site’s creation, including €4.1 million as a repayable advance and €1.89 million in grants.

The Occitanie H2 Corridor is part of the North-South European hydrogen corridor project, which aims to decarbonise goods and passenger transport on an axis running between the Mediterranean and the North Sea. The Lhyfe Occitanie site will help to decarbonise these transport modes by supplying green and renewable hydrogen to trucks, coaches, and other fuel cell vehicles on the Albi-Toulouse route, in particular.

The aim of the region for the Occitanie H2 Corridor is to have two renewable hydrogen production facilities by the end of 2024, representing a total of six tonnes of output a day to start, seven hydrogen fuel stations, 40 hydrogen-powered trucks, 62 refrigerated trailers/units, and 15 regional interurban buses retrofit to run on hydrogen.

Moreover, the Lhyfe Occitanie site will meet the green and renewable hydrogen needs of industry, transport and logistics providers, and local authorities in the area looking to decarbonise their mobility and/or processes. The facility promotes a short supply chain logic, with energy produced and consumed locally, and can deliver its hydrogen within a radius of 200 kilometres.

Impact and challenges

The Lhyfe Occitanie production facility will play a significant role in achieving the decarbonization goals of the Occitanie Region. By supplying green and renewable hydrogen to trucks, coaches, and other fuel cell vehicles, it will help to reduce carbon emissions from the transportation sector. The facility’s scalability will also allow it to meet the growing demand for green hydrogen from various industries.

The project faces challenges, however. One of the significant challenges will be the cost of production. Currently, the production cost of green hydrogen is higher than that of grey hydrogen. However, with the increasing demand for green hydrogen, the cost of production is expected to decrease.

Another challenge is the availability of renewable energy sources required for the production of green hydrogen. Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power are needed to power the electrolysis process that produces green hydrogen. These sources of renewable energy can be intermittent, and therefore, a reliable and cost-effective system for storing energy is required.