welcome > projects > 65

A solar power plant to produce green hydrogen

Publié le 09/12/2021

After transforming its huge roof into a solar power plant, Flasa is turning to the production of renewable hydrogen. The project, carried out in partnership with the HES Valais Wallis, has just been awarded an Innosuisse cheque for CHF 15,000.

One kilo of hydrogen can store three times more energy than one kilo of petrol, and a hundred times more than the best electric batteries... The H2 molecule is presented as the Holy Grail of the ecological transition. However, hydrogen is currently mainly produced from hydrocarbons. The company Flasa, Filature de Laine Peignée d'Ajoie SA in Alle in the Swiss Jura, wants to decarbonise its production by using the surplus energy generated by its photovoltaic plant to produce and store green hydrogen.

A pioneering project

Flasa's commitment to renewable energy is not new. As early as 2012, the company began its ecological transition by renovating its roof and installing 6,359 solar panels. The 1,600,000 kWh generated each year cover about 30% of the needs of this factory for the production of textiles and technical fibres founded in 1934.

The company's energy needs were greater in the past. Today, the company wants to use the available infrastructure for new purposes. The production of green hydrogen and the provision of services to the electricity grid, which is increasingly being used by renewable energies. "The industrial site is currently oversized, but it could become an experimental centre for sustainable energy and the optimisation of electricity networks," explains André-Jean Six, president of Flasa.

An Innosuisse cheque for CHF 15,000 will initially be used to evaluate the economic, technical and environmental potential of this project to produce hydrogen from an existing solar power plant.

Facilitating the ecological transition

Indeed, while electric cars meet the needs of daily journeys for private individuals, trains, buses and heavy goods vehicles need more power and range. Equipping them with a fuel cell, which produces electricity from green hydrogen, would be an interesting solution.

"Our production could supply a hydrogen station for buses and trucks. Switzerland has many players in this field, particularly for supplying shops. In Germany, with the help of local authorities, the Alstom group has just launched its first hydrogen-powered train, the Coradia iLint, which is currently running in commercial service. The need for green hydrogen is therefore also affecting the rail sector. Flasa is located 40 km from Belfort and a cross-border project is possible, as we can rely on the scientific skills of the universities, hydrogen research institutes and the industrial fabric present in neighbouring France (FCLAB, UBFC, UTBM, CEA and CNRS)", continues André-Jean Six. continues André-Jean Six.

Julien Pouget, associate professor at the HES Valais-Wallis in Sion, a specialist in smart grids, is studying the commercial potential of the project.

An industrial site in transformation

Flasa has started thinking globally for a more sustainable future. "We want to optimise our premises by also integrating a logistics centre. In this way, the available infrastructure will be able to accommodate new companies active in the field of renewable energy, the valorisation of local materials and services for low-carbon mobility," concludes André-Jean Six. A smooth transition, carried out in consultation with local stakeholders, in particular the municipality of Alle, the Syndicat Intercommunal du District de Porrentruy (SIDP) and the canton of Jura.