“Michelin’s vision is to get the right balance between people, planet and profit,” Sabet told delegates. “Michelin has been investing in hydrogen mobility for 15 years. It’s a natural technology that fits our sustainable mobility vision.”
As laid out in the French firm’s vision, the company has blossomed beyond tyres and is now focusing on the mobility sector as a whole: from the vehicles themselves to the supporting infrastructure.
However, as like many, Michelin believes there is no “silver bullet”, and that the transition to zero-emissions mobility will be achieved through a complementation of different technologies, including both fuel cell electric and battery electric.
Whilst hydrogen may not strictly be a silver bullet for the company, that doesn’t mean it’s not betting big on the energy carrier, as Sabet made clear in his presentation. Through a vast array of projects and collaborations, the company is expanding its footprint in the hydrogen mobility space.
Detailing one of many projects the Michelin is currently working on, Sabet said, “We are working on a hydrogen corridor project. It was the first of its kind back in 2017 and it has a vision to create a hydrogen [station] corridor of 20 sites to refuel 1,200 vehicles.”
Hympulsion, a joint venture between Michelin and Engie, is making the corridor come to life, having invested €8m in deploying refuelling stations and catalysts for distributing and producing decarbonised hydrogen.
“We don’t want to put in place stations that don’t have activity, so to speak. We are working very much in parallel to make a very sustainable approach to having green hydrogen available,” Sabet explained.
Highlighting some of his personal highlights for the effort, Sabet continued, “If I have to summarise it, a key success factor we have had so far in this project is really to have a combination of the public and private funding with subsidies from both France and also EU to support this because it is really a big effort to make it happen.”
As H2 View’s Virtual European Hydrogen Summit 2022 heard in both the Policy and Investment sessions this morning, both of these factors are key when it comes to pushing forward landmark clean energy projects, such a Michelin’s.
It is hoped the stations within the corridor will be opened for business use by 2025. “We already have one station going, and we are now working on the rest,” Sabet enthused.
From stations, to buses, trucks, light-duty vehicles and everything in-between. Michelin is also looking to dominate the vehicle space through its Symbio joint venture. Established in 2019 with Faurecia, the firm is focused on fuel cell dedicated activities.
“Symbio providing the fuel systems to systems for both passenger car vehicles and light commercial vehicles, buses or trucks,” Sabet told delegates. “We have already over four million kilometres of on road experience with those technologies, and the technology can be found today in the Stellantis group’s mid-size van segment.
“We also have an agreement to put 1500 hydrogen buses into the market, so we are really focused on scaling up the zero-emissions automotive industry. We want to create vehicles to meet both the need and demand.”