France Unveils Ambitious Investment Plan in Nuclear Fusion, Natural Hydrogen, and Clean Energy Technologies
Posted 13/12/2023 12:51
French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a groundbreaking plan to accelerate investments in cutting-edge technologies, including nuclear fusion, natural hydrogen, energy storage, and carbon capture. The initiative is part of France's larger €54 billion investment plan for 2030, with a renewed focus on achieving breakthrough innovations and industrial decarbonization.
During a visit to Airbus in Toulouse, Macron revealed plans to greenlight new investments in nuclear fusion and small nuclear reactors (SMR), such as EDF's Nuward project. While acknowledging the considerable potential of nuclear fusion, Macron emphasized its expected operational timeline, suggesting it may not play a significant role in achieving short-term decarbonization targets. The aim is to achieve substantial progress in fusion technology and superconducting magnets within the next two years.
Macron underscored the necessity for massive expansion in energy storage capabilities to support the growth of renewable energy sources. He emphasized the urgency of developing medium- and long-term storage resources to enhance the flexibility of the electricity system, crucial for accommodating the increased use of renewables and meeting rising electricity demand.
France aims to become a hub for hydrogen transport, with Macron announcing substantial funding for the exploration of natural hydrogen reserves found beneath the Earth's surface. Potential deposits have been identified in the regions of Lorraine and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, with the first natural hydrogen exploration license issued on December 3. While expectations are high for abundant and low-carbon extraction, large-scale production is not anticipated until 2028.
The president highlighted France's commitment to carbon capture, storage, and utilization, pointing to existing partnerships, particularly with Norway. Collaborative efforts at the European level aim to transport captured carbon from industries and store it in depleted oil and gas fields in Norwegian waters. Several carbon storage and transport projects have been deemed eligible for EU funding by the European Commission.
Macron stressed the importance of mapping France's geological deposits to better understand and utilize resources efficiently. He expressed the hope that the mapping initiative would be operational by mid-2024, contributing to the overall strategy for sustainable and innovative energy solutions.
France's ambitious investment plan reflects a commitment to advancing clean energy technologies and addressing the challenges of industrial decarbonization. By focusing on nuclear fusion, natural hydrogen, energy storage, and carbon capture, the country aims to position itself as a leader in innovative and sustainable solutions for a low-carbon future. The initiatives align with broader European efforts to drive progress in clean energy and environmental sustainability.