May 23, 2014 - French nuclear group Areva SA (EPA:AREVA) said today it had teamed up with Smart Energies and the French government to jointly produce proton exchange membrane (PEM) electrolysers for the renewable energy storage market.
The specific technology enables the production of hydrogen from water and electricity. Initially it was used for industrial applications, but it gained popularity in the renewables industry.
Areva, Smart Energies’ CETH2 unit and the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) are setting up a joint venture for the purpose of manufacturing PEM electrolysers. The parties have agreed to hold equal stakes in the France-based entity -- AREVA H2-Gen. ADEME has committed an undisclosed sum on behalf of the French state to help fund the project.
According to ADEME president Bruno Lechevin, the technology “will help to better promote the production and development of renewable energies in France and throughout the rest of the world”. Areva’s CEO Luc Oursel noted that the market for the storage of hydrogen-based energy is expanding rapidly.