France authorizes the search for natural hydrogen reserves for the first time

The French government has authorized, for the first time in France, a research project for so-called “white” hydrogen, a fuel naturally present in the subsoil and of growing interest in decarbonizing industry and transport

France authorizes the search for natural hydrogen reserves for the first time

The French government has authorized, for the first time in France, a research project for so-called “white” hydrogen, a fuel naturally present in the subsoil and of growing interest in decarbonizing industry and transport.

Announced in the Official Journal, Sunday, December 3, this “exclusive permit for research into native hydrogen mines, helium and related substances known as “Sauve Terre H2”” will concern an area of ​​approximately 225 square kilometers located in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, specifies the decree of November 23 signed by the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, and by the Minister Delegate in charge of Industry, Roland Lescure.

It was granted to the company TBH2 Aquitaine for a period of five years, thus becoming the first natural hydrogen research project to be authorized among six applications submitted in France, the Ministry of Energy Transition announced. The ministry also specified that the other five are “under investigation”.

“TBH2 Aquitaine will remain the first company in France to have obtained an exclusive research permit for native hydrogen,” said Vincent Bordmann, the company’s founder, speaking of a “great day”. According to him, the granting of this permit means that exploration work can begin, namely studies, particularly seismic. Drilling will only take place in two or three years, after new authorizations.

Another application filed in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques

In the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, another permit application was submitted in March jointly by the companies 45-8 ENERGY and Storengy, for an area of ​​266 square kilometers, adjoining the Sauve Terre H2 project for 10 kilometers.

Hydrogen is highly coveted for the decarbonization potential it offers to industries and mobility, provided it is itself produced from green or decarbonized electricity.

Present naturally everywhere on the planet, white hydrogen arouses growing appetites, because it has the advantage of not emitting carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change, unlike that produced by from fossil fuels called “gray” hydrogen.

Until now, 95% of the hydrogen produced in the world is gray hydrogen, manufactured by chemical or petrochemical manufacturers by the "reforming" of gas, a process that nevertheless emits a lot of effect gases. Greenhouse. Other forms of hydrogen exist: "blue", "green" and "yellow", depending on whether they use gas with carbon capture, green electricity sources (wind, solar, hydroelectric) by electrolysis of water or that it is produced from nuclear electricity.