One single solution for three challenges


Improving air quality, reducing CO2 emissions and promoting energy transition…

today, transport is at the heart of three major challenges, challenges which France and other countries have decided to tackle. Developing hydrogen-based transport is one way of dealing with all three of these challenges at the same time.

Challenge 1

Improving air quality

The situation

In France, 48,000 people die prematurely each year as a result of fine particles, making air pollution the third biggest cause of death after tobacco and alcohol. Life expectancy in towns and cities with populations greater than 100,000 could rise by 7 months over the next 30 years if France were to respect the upper threshold imposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) - equivalent to 10 μg/m3 of annual exposure to extremely fine particles (PM2.5).

Road transport was responsible for roughly 54% of NOx emissions in mainland France in 2014, 23% of which came from non-professional diesel cars and 20% of which came from heavy-goods diesel vehicles.

Despite the progress that has been made, the results remain unsatisfactory: France and Europe are still far from the standards imposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) with annual averages reaching as high as 25 μg/m3.

The answer

Because they do not have combustion engines, hydrogen electric vehicles do not emit any particles from their exhaust pipes, making them zero emissions vehicles.

Challenge 2

Reducing CO2 emissions

The situation

The transport sector is the n°1 source of greenhouse gases (30%).

Although greenhouse gas emissions had been decreasing since 2004 (-0.7% on average annually), the trend reversed in 2015 (+0.9%), putting the focus on reaching the targets set as part of the energy transition law and the low-carbon strategy (-40% greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, followed by 4 times less by 2050).

The answer

Because they do not use fossil fuels, hydrogen electric vehicles do not emit any greenhouse gases from their exhaust pipes, making them zero emissions vehicles.

When produced using natural gas, hydrogen vehicles generate 30% less CO2 (100% when produced using renewable energy.

Challenge 3

Developing renewable energy

The situation

France still has some catching up to do with regards to the objectives set in relation to developing renewable energy: by the end of 2015, its share of overall energy consumption was only 14.9% as opposed to the 17% it should have reached in order to remain on course with the 23% target set for 2020 as part of the European energy-climate package.

Regions have a key role to play in energy transition - some target Positive Energy Region (TEPOS) or Positive Energy Region for Green Growth (TEPCV) accreditation.

The answer

Hydrogen production is beneficial for renewable energy. The enhanced production flexibility of electrolysers helps adapt production to the variable nature of energy – electricity produced during periods of high production and low consumption is then converted into hydrogen.


The hydrogen produced through renewable energy can then be used to operate hydrogen electric vehicles or hybrid battery/hydrogen vehicles. In this instance, it allows any surplus energy to be re-used immediately in addition to optimising network management, resulting in enhanced profitability for production installations. At a time where feed-in tariffs are being devised, energy unions, companies and local authorities have grasped the benefits of hydrogen transport.


By 2030, the technology used to store hydrogen on a large-scale and the related economic models will be ready. This will make it possible to convert this hydrogen either into gas (“Power to Gas”) or into electricity prior to it being injected back into the network.