On 4 December 2023, HYPORT, owned by ENGIE Solutions (51%) and the Occitanie region’s Energy and Climate Agency (49%), unveils Europe’s first green hydrogen production, storage and distribution station at an airport. The aim being to decarbonize its ground-based activities.
Catherine MacGregor, who unveiled the station alongside Carole Delga, President of the Occitanie region (around Toulouse), pointed out that it was a significant step in the energy transition of the region – and of the entire industry – because “decarbonizing aviation starts by transforming ground-based activities, which also emit CO2,” as ENGIE’s CEO said.
With a production capacity of over 400 kilograms of carbon-free hydrogen a day, or the equivalent of one megawatt of high-power electrolysis, HYPORT’s electrolyser supplies two hydrogen charging stations. One is on the tarmac for airport shuttles, aircraft tractors, and the ground power units supplying electricity to aircraft when they are on the ground and not connected to a gangway. The other one, on the city side of the airport, can charge up to 20 buses or 200 light vehicles, particularly taxis, a day.
Based on site, the electrolyser is powered solely by local, renewable electricity. The charging station uses electricity from an agrivoltaic farm in Fanjeaux (80km from Toulouse) and SHEM hydroelectric dams in the Pyrenees, operated by ENGIE.
This success story is founded on the conviction, shared by ENGIE and the Occitanie region, that hydrogen has a key role to play in the energy transition, particularly by decarbonizing mobility.
This convergence of vision between the industrial and institutional sectors is at the origin of the project. It represents a total investment of 7.2 million euros and received funding from Ademe (the French agency for environmental transition), the European Union and the Occitanie region. It meets the government’s objective to promote future industries.
Exploiting the benefits of hydrogen for high-intensity mobility
As one of the leading logistics hubs in the region, Toulouse-Blagnac airport is the focal point of many modes of mobility. Hydrogen’s high energy density was particularly valuable for high-intensity mobility needs, over a wide period, and for heavy or light vehicles needing to be charged quickly.
It was a real challenge for ENGIE teams to devise a solution for so many hydrogen uses, adapted to the mode of distribution and specificities of each.
They also had to meet the technical and regulatory requirements of an airport with many different stakeholders, alongside which ENGIE worked tirelessly: Directorate General for Civil Aviation, police, security services, local elected representatives, and private players.
Developing a vast ecosystem based on renewable hydrogen
HYPORT’s aim is to build a vast hydrogen ecosystem at a regional level by bringing together Occitanie’s public and private players. HYPORT benefits from strong partnerships with Airbus, Toulouse-Blagnac airport and Teréga Solutions, a subsidiary of the gas transport network operator Teréga. This collaboration has not only led Toulouse-Blagnac airport to become one of the first hydrogen pilot sites in Europe. It has also identified sustainable economic models and pooled infrastructure and funding.
HYPORT intends to build on this successful development. Hydrogen is still in the early stages of industrialisation. To get this multi-use charging station up and running in such a challenging environment, ENGIE teams had to constantly “pave the way”. The company continues to diversify the uses it addresses and its portfolio of public and private customers.