French firm McPhy Energy has pre-selected Belfort, which is a commune in north-eastern France, as the potential site for its electrolyser gigafactory. The gigafactory aims to gradually produce 1 GW of alkaline electrolyser capacity annually and begin operations in 2024. Setting up the gigafactory would require an investment in the range EUR 30 to 40 million.

It is expected that the pre-selection will be confirmed soon and take the final investment decision by the end of 2021. McPhy will be required to finalise the preliminary studies, secure administrative authorisations and obtain the financing, including aid requested under the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEI) framework.

The project combines the development of new generation electrolysers and the industrial deployment of their mass production, and is part of the IPCEI hydrogen. McPhy has submitted an application within the framework of this European funding that aims to support the R&D and industrialisation of low carbon hydrogen production.

Gigafactories for electrolysers are being planned across various parts of the world as low-carbon and green hydrogen is being explored. Earlier in November 2020, Plug Power, a US-based hydrogen fuel system company, announced that its proposed PEM Stack and electrolyser gigafactory is set to be operational by 2021. By 2024, the company expects to increase its production capacity to 1.5 GW of fuel cells and 500 MW of electrolysers per year.