Total and Engie have mutually agreed to design, develop, build and operate a renewable hydrogen production unit called the Masshylia project. The project will be located at a site at Chteauneuf-les-Martigues in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur in the Southern region of France. The project will be powered by solar installation with a cumulative capacity of more than 100 MW.

The 40 MW electrolyser will produce five tonnes of green hydrogen per day to meet the needs of the biofuel production process at Total’s La Mede biorefinery, thus saving 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Since the electrolyser has the capacity to produce up to 15 tonnes of green hydrogen per day, more renewable projects may be linked to it in the future.

The project functions on the integration of five distinct forms of green technology. These include, a digital piloting system for the continuous supply of hydrogen with real-time management of solar electricity production and optimisation of several solar installations supplying the electrolyser to minimise energy losses and limit grid congestion. There is also large-scale hydrogen storage to balance intermittent electricity production and continuous hydrogen consumption, as well as a direct current connection between a photovoltaic farm and the electrolyser to improve the energy balance. Further, industrial safety has been enhanced due the use of 3D digital models for each component of the installation.

The Masshylia project has been recognised by several regional institutions such as Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur South Region, Metropole Aix-Marseille-Provence, Capenergies competitiveness cluster. Seeking financial support, the project has already applied for subsidies from the French (AMI) and European authorities (IPCEI, Innovation Fund). The construction is scheduled to begin in 2022, following the completion of the advanced engineering study. The project is expected to be completed around 2024.