At the core of the bustling port of Port-la-Nouvelle, the Occitanie Region is taking a significant step towards decarbonization with the development of the Hyd’Occ plant.
The future facility, scheduled to start producing renewable hydrogen in 2025, aims to revolutionize intensive mobility and industries, aligning with the region’s ambitions to become a positive energy leader. As the laying of the first stone took place recently, the project promises to utilize clean energy efficiently, minimize waste, and foster collaboration among public and private stakeholders.
The Hyd’Occ plant intends to harness green hydrogen, a clean energy source with immense potential for a carbon-neutral future. The facility will be connected to the national electricity grid, benefiting from France’s low carbon footprint, primarily attributed to its significant reliance on nuclear energy. Additionally, the plant will tap into the future offshore wind farm near Port-la-Nouvelle, capitalizing on wind energy’s sustainability. The hybrid approach ensures a constant supply of clean energy to power the eight electrolysers, which will convert water into hydrogen gas.
One of the standout features of the Hyd’Occ project is its zero-waste philosophy. The team aims to make the most of every component of the production process. For instance, the heat generated by the electrolysers will be harnessed to provide energy to nearby municipal buildings, promoting energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact. Furthermore, the oxygen produced during the industrial process will not go to waste either; instead, it will be made available to local industrialists, further enhancing the circular economy concept.
The Hyd’Occ project owes its success to the collaboration between public and private entities. Spearheaded by the Occitanie Region, the initiative has received support from the State, including the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe). The investment of €60 million is a testament to the commitment to driving sustainable innovation. Renewable energy producer Qair, headquartered in Montpellier, joins hands with the Regional Climate Energy Agency (Arec) Occitanie to ensure the project’s success.
Beyond the Hyd’Occ plant, the Occitanie Region envisions making Port-la-Nouvelle a focal point for the energy transition in the Mediterranean. Two key pillars underpin this vision: green hydrogen and floating wind power. With two pilot farms currently under installation, the port is poised to emerge as a hub for renewable marine energies in the region. Plans include the development of dedicated infrastructure such as new quays, jetties, and storage basins for floats, transforming the port into a bustling crossroads for clean energy initiatives.
The Hyd’Occ project is not an isolated endeavor; instead, it is part of a broader effort to advance hydrogen usage in various fields. The Occitanie Region supports several innovative projects aimed at hydrogen’s widespread deployment. These include Genvia in Béziers, in which the Region holds a 6.5% stake, the forthcoming regional campus for hydrogen professions (Genhyo), the HyPort project (a collaboration between Engie and Arec), and the Corridor H2 initiative, focusing on transitioning heavy mobility to green hydrogen.
In conclusion, the Hyd’Occ plant marks a significant milestone in the journey towards renewable hydrogen production and decarbonization in the Occitanie Region. With a clear focus on maximizing energy efficiency, minimizing waste, and promoting collaboration between public and private players, the project holds the potential to transform intensive mobility and industries. As Port-la-Nouvelle takes center stage in the Mediterranean’s energy transition, the Occitanie Region paves the way for a sustainable future driven by clean, green energy.