Total moves into hydrogen mobility with French taxi and fueling station stake

Total has purchased a 20% stake in hydrogen taxi fleet and fueling station owner Hysetco in France, the company said May 26, further diversifying its energy transition portfolio.

The fleet of hydrogen taxis, operating in the Paris region, are fueled by a dedicated network of Hysetco stations which it plans to expand in the coming years, Total said in a statement. Total will make its own network of service stations available to Hysetco as part of this expansion.

Hysetco owns around 700 taxis in Paris, the majority of which are diesel. The company plans to gradually transition its fleet to become 100% hydrogen fuel cell powered.

"This acquisition is a concrete commitment and an acceleration for Total in hydrogen mobility," Total Chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanne said. "After investing in the new Belib network of charge points for electric vehicles, Total is contributing to position Paris as a showcase for new carbon-neutral urban mobility for businesses and consumers."

The other Hysetco stakeholders are Societe du Taxi Electrique Parisien, Air Liquide, Toyota and Kouros.

Platts assessed the cost of producing renewable hydrogen via alkaline electrolysis in Europe at Eur4.21/kg ($5.15/kg) May 25 (Netherlands, including capex). PEM electrolysis production was assessed at Eur5.29/kg.

Energy transition investments

Total's acquisition adds to other recent developments from the company in the hydrogen and renewables space.

Total said it was working on developing "concrete use cases" for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen "for the decarbonization of industrial processes as well as in mobility and gas."

The company operates 24 hydrogen refueling stations in Germany as part of the H2 Mobility joint venture with Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV and Shell.

In January, Total signed a cooperation agreement with utility Engie to design, develop, build and operate a renewable hydrogen production site near Total's La Mede biorefinery in France.

The Masshylia project at Martigues, west of Marseilles, will be powered by a 100-MW solar farm with a 40-MW electrolyzer set to produce 5 mt/day of green hydrogen to meet the needs of the biofuel production process at Total's nearby biorefinery, avoiding 15,000 mt of CO2/year.

Production could start in 2024, subject to the necessary financial support and public authorizations, the partners said.

Total's hydrogen investments add to its expanding renewables portfolio. Total leads its international oil company peers in renewables investments, with a total of 7.8 GW of installed solar and wind capacity.

Total wants to grow its overall energy production by one third in the next decade to 4 million b/d of oil equivalent from 3 million boe/d, with half the growth from LNG and half from electricity, mainly renewables, the company said in a September strategy update.

Total's oil products sales will be reduced by almost 30% in the same time frame.

As a result, Total's sales mix will be: 50% gases, 30% oil products, 5% biofuels and 15% electrons. That compares with 55% oil products, 40% gas and 5% electrons in 2019.

It said it wanted to reduce emissions by its customers in Europe by 30% by 2030 and to reduce emissions by its customers globally to less than 2015 levels by 2030.

"We want to transform Total to meet a dual challenge -- more energy and less carbon," Pouyanne said at the time.