Belfort preselected for electrolyzer gigafactory

Image: McPhy

McPhy announces its pre-selection of the Belfort site for the construction of its electrolyzer Gigafactory and provides an update on its first-half sales.

The McPhy Gigafactory is a strategic instrument for addressing competitiveness challenges by further solidifying and sustaining McPhy’s leadership position in the alkaline electrolyzer industry and realizing economies of scale that will enable McPhy to significantly lower the cost of green hydrogen produced via electrolysis compared to carbon-based energy.

This project, which is part of the IPCEI hydrogen initiative, combines the development of new generation electrolyzers with the industrial deployment of their mass production. McPhy has made an application for this European financing, which intends to promote the research and development and industrialization of, in particular, the “electrolysis” technological brick, in order to accelerate the sector’s development and competitiveness in low-carbon hydrogen.

We are very pleased to announce the preselection of Belfort, a major French and European industrial metropolis, to start building a Gigafactory for alkaline electrolyzers. This future factory will play a major role in the transition to industrial scale electrolysis, an essential condition for green hydrogen to achieve the decarbonation objectives set by the French government and the European authorities. We would like to thank all the stakeholders and partners who support us in this great ambition, as well as the McPhy teams.”

Pascal Mauberger, Chairman of McPhy.

The building of our Gigafactory is particularly strategic for McPhy’s growth. This center of excellence dedicated to industrialization and mass production will give us the means to achieve our technological and industrial ambitions in the electrolyzer segment. The Group will transform the lead it holds in pressurized alkaline electrolysis, a mature and proven technology for large-scale hydrogen projects, into a sustainable competitive and industrial advantage.

Laurent Carme, CEO of McPhy.

I am very pleased with this announcement by McPhy, which is one of the first Gigafactories within the framework of the National Hydrogen Strategy and demonstrates this new technology’s capacity to be a driver of growth and industrial development for our territories. The choice of Belfort reinforces the Energy Valley ecosystem and fully illustrates the attractiveness of Northern Franche-Comté region for project developers. It also demonstrates our commitment, alongside the industry, to diversifying the region’s activity and consolidating its position as a European hub for energy transition engineering.”

Bruno Le Maire, French Minister of Economy, Finance and Recovery.

The decision of McPhy’s Board of Directors is further evidence of the emergence of a true French hydrogen industry that masters all the technological building bricks to produce and use low-carbon hydrogen. This approach, which aims to strengthen our energy and economic resilience, mobilizes all our energy engineering know-how. We are going to continue this effort and ensure that the development of low-carbon hydrogen uses and the industrialization of offers progress together.

Agnès Pannier-Runacher, French Minister Delegate of Industry.

The selection of the Belfort location is a significant step toward meeting the anticipated growth of McPhy’s markets. The Belfort site, which is geared toward “high-tech” industries, was pre-selected for its capacity to address the critical difficulties highlighted by industrial scale-up of electrolyzers:

  • Prior to then, an industrial, research, and development ecosystem devoted to innovation and hydrogen was established, as was the presence of potential partners within the industry.
  • Industrial employment opportunities and an enticing environment;
  • Geographic location in a crossroads of Europe, allowing for connection with other McPhy locations while also easing sourcing, procurement, and delivery activities;
  • Economic, technical, functional, and administrative support from public stakeholders to assist the administration and deployment of this project.

McPhy’s confirmation of the preselection and final investment decision are expected to occur by the end of 2021, subject to the completion of preparatory research, getting administrative authorizations, and collecting necessary finance, including those needed under the IPCEI process.

The goal is to begin production in the first half of 2024 and gradually scale up to a year-round capacity of 1 GW. The construction of this new industrial infrastructure would require a €30-€40 million investment.

It would result in the creation of around 500 McPhy positions at full capacity, including about 400 in France and a hundred in Germany and Italy. Additionally, many hundred indirect jobs would be created in France and around Europe as a result of this project.

McPhy would profit from a total annual production capacity of 1.3 GW (2) as a result of this significant investment in its industrial facilities, which is consistent with the growing prospects of the green hydrogen markets, notably in heavy industry.

While McPhy awaits the start-up of its Gigafactory, it will rely on its existing industrial facilities, which are sized for present demand and can be expanded to meet the portfolio’s robust growth, most notably with the San Miniato and Wildau electrolyzer sites.

Nedim Husomanovic

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