French renewable energy company Lhyfe has started producing industrial quantities of hydrogen from an electrolyser powered directly by wind turbines.
Its first production site is located a few meters from the ocean in Port-du-Bec in Bouin, a town in the Vendée department and the Pays de la Loire region in western France. Lhyfe has secured € 50 million in Series A financing, welcoming SWEN Capital Partners and Bank of the Territories on board alongside its original investors.
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The site currently produces 300 kilograms per day but plans to increase to one tonne per day in the coming months. Lhyfe’s hydrogen will supply four refueling stations in western France, including La Roche-sur-Yon, which will be operational in the coming days. Around fifty heavy goods vehicles, buses and garbage collectors will be powered by renewable green hydrogen in Loire-Atlantique, Sarthe and Vendée initially, then in other French departments, as part of the VHyGO project (Grand Ouest Hydrogen Valley) notably.
In addition to local authorities, Lhyfe will soon unveil the names of the other operators it will supply, in sectors such as transport, logistics and industry.
Hydrogen to meet local energy needs
Capitalizing on the know-how developed for the construction and commissioning of this first industrial site, Lhyfe duplicates this site and, in parallel, deploys facilities with production capacities on a larger scale to meet local needs (they will require capacities up to 100 times higher in Denmark).
Lhyfe’s first R&D center, adjacent to the production site, is mainly dedicated to optimizing its production process and offshore development work. It is already ready to produce hydrogen at sea, through a renewable hydrogen production demonstrator which will be set up in a few months off the Loire-Atlantique. This site was co-financed by the Community of Communes of Challans-Gois, the Pays de la Loire Region and the French public investment bank Bpifrance, and built jointly with local players from the Vendée department.
Matthieu Guesné, CEO and founder of LHyfe: “One year after laying the foundation stone, we are extremely proud to launch this site, which is symbolic of course for us, but also for what it represents for [the] energetic transition. Our gratitude goes to our five original partners, who made this “crazy” project to change our energy model possible. Now we have succeeded [in] this first step, we are ready to go faster.
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Strengthening deployment and R&D abroad
This second fundraising of 50 million euros, from SWEN Capital Partners, Bank of the Territories and its original partners, will allow Lhyfe to devote 30 million euros to strengthening its deployment and R&D teams, in France and abroad. Lhyfe currently employs 60 people and aims to double this figure in 2022.
The company already has teams in France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and Portugal. These will be joined in the coming weeks by new teams in Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Italy.
On the R&D side, the production of offshore wind turbines will be accelerated, with the installation of the first demonstrator for the production of hydrogen at sea, on the SEM-REV offshore pilot site, off Le Croisic from 2022, and the development of New projects .
Twenty million euros are also intended to finance Lhyfe projects. Lhyfe was launched in 2019 and already has a portfolio of 60 projects across Europe. It is also planned to deploy facilities in other French regions. Following the announcement last year of Lhyfe’s first international projects in Denmark and more recently in Portugal, new projects are expected to be announced in Italy, Germany and the UK.
Swen Capital Partners and Bank of the Territories joins Lhyfe’s top five investors: Noria, Ovive (Les Saules Group), West Growth, Océan Participations, and the semi-public company Vendée Energy.
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