100% renewable targets will require power storage to manage flows on the net
Electrolysers utilise these intermittent power flows to produce H2 gas from water
H2 gas can be stored in large quantities underground and transported via existing gas pipelines
H2 vehicles recharge faster and are more durable than battery powered transport
Growing H2 demand in industrial processes will reduce costs and increase supply

The French National Research Agency (ANR) in 2005 launched a research program on new energy technologies. Special attention was paid to hydrogen technology as an alternative to technologies that use traditional fuels.

The priorities set by the Agency concerned on the integration process with research carried out at European level, on the specialization on some key issues such as water electrolysis for hydrogen production with low CO2 emissions and on the hydrogen storage. The research on fuel cells has focused in particular on the components of the PEMFC and the development of prototype batteries for specialized markets.

The Pan-H program (2005-2008) 4 call the ANR mobilized about 84 M€for hydrogen (approximately the 20% of the budget devoted to the theme ”Sustainable Energy and Environment) for a total of 73 projects funded.

The HPAC program (2009 – 2010) 2 call the ANR mobilized about 15,3 M€ for a total of 16 projects funded.

The Sustainable Electricity Production and Management (PROGELEC 2011-2013)is the new program based on three former programmes: “Intelligent Housing and Photovoltaic Solar Energy (HABISOL)”, “Innovative Energy Storage (Stock-E)”,  ”Hydrogen and Fuel Cells” (H-PAC). The program intends to accelerate the French research for developing renewable energies and integrating innovative systems allowing an optimized electricity management. The objectives are to reinforce the partnerships between the industrial and scientific communities, and to improve the competitiveness of the French technologies by favoring technological breakthroughs. The program also intends to support more fundamental research allowing new industrial orientations to be prepared at mid-term.

The objectives of the PROGELEC programme are :

  • To develop innovative  electricity production systems from renewable energies, especially from photovoltaic solar energy;
  • To manage the intermittent production through the development of buffer storage systems ;
  • To develop performing stationary and on-board storage and/or production systems ;
  • To pilot domestic and mobile usages of electricity ;
  • To design reliable and « intelligent» devices for energy management from multiple sources.
The first call for proposals of PROGELEC program (deadline on 7/04/2011) is structured around photovoltaic electricity production, thermoelectricity, hydrogen production and its use  in fuel cells, electricity storage, management and hybridisation of components and centralised and decentralised electricity management.
More information here.