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Lhyfe inaugurates Bouin green hydrogen plant and raises EUR 50 million

In western France, a few metres from the ocean in Port-du-Bec in Vendée, renewable hydrogen producer and supplier Lhyfe Labs (Lhyfe) has officially inaugurated its Bouin green hydrogen facility, the world's first renewable industrial-scale green hydrogen made using an electrolyzer powered directly by wind turbines, and in industrial quantities, which the company says represents a "major technical achievement."

On September 30, 2021, Lhyfe Labs (Lhyfe) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony of its Bouin green hydrogen facility. According to Lhyfe, it is the world’s first renewable industrial-scale green hydrogen made using an electrolyzer powered directly by wind turbines, which the company says represents a “major technical achievement” (photo courtesy Lhyfe).

The Bouin site currently produces 300 kgs a day but will ramp up to a tonne a day in the coming months. Lhyfe’s green hydrogen will supply four refuelling stations in western France including La Roche-sur-Yon, which will be operational in the next few days.

Some fifty or so heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), buses and refuse collectors will be powered by renewable green hydrogen in Loire-Atlantique, Sarthe, and Vendée at first, then in other French departments, under the VHyGO project in particular.

In addition to communities, Lhyfe will soon reveal the names of other operators that it will be supplying, in sectors such as haulage, logistics and industry, which are also seizing the real decarbonization opportunity that its hydrogen offers.

Capitalizing on the know-how developed for the construction and commissioning of this first industrial site, Lhyfe is duplicating this site and, in parallel, deploying facilities with larger-scale production capacity to meet local needs  – for instance up to 100 times higher capacity in a project in Denmark.

Offshore R&D centre opened

Lhyfe’s first R&D centre, adjacent to the production site, is dedicated primarily to optimizing its production process and to offshore development work. It is already prepared to produce hydrogen at sea, through a first renewable hydrogen production demonstrator that will be implemented in a few months off the coast of Loire-Atlantique.

This site was co-financed by the Community of Communes of Challans-Gois, the Pays de la Loire Region, Bpifrance, built jointly with local stakeholders from the Vendée department.

“A year after laying the foundation stone, we are extremely proud to be launching this site, which is symbolic of course for us but also for what it represents for the energy transition. Our gratitude goes to our five initial partners, who have made this “mad” project to change our energy model possible. Now we have succeeded in this first step, we are ready to move faster,” said Matthieu Guesné, CEO and Founder of LHyfe during the inauguration held on September 30, 2021 (photo courtesy Lhyfe).

Raises EUR 50 million in a second funding round

Lhyfe has also announced that it has secured EUR 50 million in a second funding round which will enable it to strengthen its project deployment and R&D capacity.

SWEN Capital Partners and Banque des Territoires joined the five original original investors – Noria, Ovive (Les Saules Group), Ouest Croissance, Océan Participations, and the semi-public company Vendée Energie – as new investors in this round.

Noria, Ovive, Ouest Croissance and Océan Participations also backed the company in this latest new funding round.

We are proud to welcome important players such as SWEN Capital Partners and Banque des Territoires into our equity. The commitment of SWEN Capital Partners to the environment shows that our ecological hydrogen production solution has the capacity to offer a more breathable future to our children. Banque des Territoires confirms the robustness, intelligence and potential of the Lhyfe model in France, for industry and communities, said Matthieu Guesné.

The company currently employs 60 staff and aims to double this figure during 2022. It 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 front, production from offshore wind turbines will be accelerated, with the implementation of the first hydrogen production demonstrator at sea, at the SEM-REV offshore pilot site, off the coast of Le Croisic from 2022, and the development of new projects.

During the inauguration ceremony held on September 30, 2021, Lhyfe also announced that it has secured EUR 50 million in a second funding round which will enable it to strengthen its project deployment and R&D capacity (photo courtesy Lhyfe).

Partner with Banque des Territoires in France

The company plans to allocate around EUR 30 million to strengthening its deployment and R&D teams in France and abroad. The balance of circa EUR 20 million is earmarked for the financing of Lhyfe projects – despite being founded as recent as 2019, it already has a portfolio of 60 projects throughout Europe.

In France, Lhyfe will work with new investor Banque des Territoires which plans to finance all the green hydrogen production sites developed by Lhyfe in the country.

This includes the Great West Hydrogen Valley (VHyGO) project, which aims to make access to renewable hydrogen more widespread in western France – Lorient, Brest, Dieppe – as well as the ramping-up of the just-opened inaugural Bouin site.

The Lhyfe Bouin green hydrogen project entails producing hydrogen directly from wind power that is then distributed to refuelling stations and used to power heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs) such as buses and refuse collection trucks. New investor Banque des Territoires plans to finance all such production sites developed by Lhyfe in France (photo courtesy Lhyfe).

The latter three-region project – Pays de la Loire, Brittany, and Normandy – aims to produce 5 tonnes of green hydrogen per day and have a network of 20 refuelling stations serving 500 commercial HDVs that operate across 25 towns and cities thereby avoiding 50 000 tonnes per annum of transport-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2024.

Renewable hydrogen is a priority of the recovery plan and a key issue for tackling the necessary decarbonization of our societies driven by more sustainable territories. Lhyfe, through its capacity for innovation and its responsiveness, makes it possible to address these issues effectively. Our support for the development of Lhyfe involves the implementation of the first site in Bouin in Vendée, and the Vhygo project, which is an excellent example of an area-based industrial system with promising prospects for all of western France, said Emmanuel Legrand, Head of the Energy and Ecological Transition department for Banque des Territoires.

Partner with SWEN Capital on international projects

Internationally, through a partnership with SWEN Capital Partners: After the announcement last spring of Lhyfe’s first international projects in Denmark and a more recently revealed project in Portugal, new projects are due to be announced in Italy, Germany and the UK.

We are proud to support Lhyfe in this major raising of funds through our SWEN Impact Fund for Transition and to leverage our joint expertise in renewable hydrogen. We have found people that we can trust, with whom we share the desire to support innovation and provide solutions for the development of a carbon-free industry and the emergence of a French industry base that generates jobs, said Olivier Aubert, Managing Director at SWEN Capital Partners.

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