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the project


the aim

The Integration and demonstration of Large Stationary Fuel Cell Systems for Distributed Generation

Certain industries, such as chemical production or petroleum refining have been identified as producing quantities of by-product hydrogen that can be used to produce clean, load-following power on a distributed basis, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. While the chemical production industry generally acknowledges the potential value of stationary fuel cell applications, the lack of multiple megawatt-scale European reference sites is a significant barrier to widespread adoption. The CLEARgen Demo proposal aims to address this need.

The video of the project

The objectives

The initial objectives of the CLEARgen Demo Project are:

1) The development and construction of a large scale fuel cell system, purpose-built for the European market,

2) The validation of the technical and economic readiness of the fuel cell system at the megawatt scale,

3) The field demonstration and development of megawatt scale system at a European chemical production plant.


The demonstration site was chosen for the ability to provide a strong reference case so as to convince future operators of the relevance of large scale stationary fuel cell applications. It is expected that the CLEARgen Demo field demonstration will show that large stationary PEM fuel cell systems for distributed power generation are environmentally friendly and commercially relevant for process industrial applications where alternatively excess hydrogen today is vented.

The challenges


The project located in Martinique also presents new challenges:

  • Specific hydrogen purification system (pressure swing adsorption: PSA);

  • Integration in a refinery with quality standards beyond the usual standards;

  • Implantation on a strong seismic zone and subjected to hurricanes;

  • Connection of the battery to the public distribution network not interconnected and so larger range of operation for voltage and frequency.

  • 15 years operation of the system already planned.


These constraints are an opportunity to demonstrate the deployment capability of fuel cell systems under any condition.

The story


The initial project should be implemented in Hungary. In this scheme, the company Linde Gas Co brought hydrogen, the site of implantation and valued the production of the Fuel CEll (electricity and heat). Ballard Power System Europe, a subsidiary of Ballard Power Systems (Canada), provided the FC based on the existing ClearGen© system with design improvements. Logan Energy performed the installation, maintenance and operation of the system on the demonstration site and managed the project. The University of Budapest was in charge of all the local procedures as well as data analysis and dissemination.

The company Linde Gas Co, having found another way of recovery for hydrogen, left the project. The University of Budapest also left, having no connection with the site. Hydrogene de France (HDF) learned about the project and proposed to relocate it to the AkzoNobel site close to Bordeaux. HDF has carried out the necessary engineering work to adapt the financing project to the constraints of the site (French regulation and hydrogen filtration) and to make the best use of the production of the FC (electricity purchase rate application) ).

Following the reduction of its scope of action to HDF, Logan Energy decided to leave the project. Ballard Power System Europe then recovered the role of coordinator. Aquipac, the Institute of Chemistry and Condensed Matter of Bordeaux (ICMCB) and Jema Energy have integrated the project at the request of HDF.

Since the economic value of the electricity produced by the FC is not achievable within the timeframe of the European program, HDF has found a favourable environment in Martinique on the site of the Société Anonyme de Raffinerie des Antilles (SARA) where the project was relocated.

The benefits


This project, even before the start of the operational phase of the fuel cell system, has already had benefits for the project partners:

  • A special partnership between HDF and BALLARD POWER SYSTEM is in discussions,

  • This reference consolidating HDF's Renewstable® offer and allowing for example the development of the CEOG project in French Guiana,

  • A privileged partnership between ametropolitan French company (HDF) and a Caribbean French company (SARA) to develop other project around hydrogen.

The planning

The project encountered many difficulties as a result of the relocations but also related to technical constraints.

Key dates


2012:  Funding by FCH-JU validated with first partners of the consortium


November 2014: Recovery of the project by HDF and relocation of the project near Bordeaux with new partners

2015: Integration engineering and electricity feed-in tariff validation

December 2016:  Relocation to Martinique – SARA became Investor to fund the project


2017: Integration Engineering and System Implementation Plan


November 2017: Validation of the fuel cell factory test (FAT) 2 x 500 kW


2018: Beginning of the civil works

July 2018:

  • Validation of the purification system test

  • Feed-in tariff validated by CRE (French Energy Regulator)

2019: Start of implementation work

November 2019: Commissioning

December 5, 2019: Official inauguration


The European program will end at the end of 2020 but the system will be operated for a minimum of 15 years.


cleargen demo video - presentation of the project

explanation of the project

Version Française

English version

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