Masshylia project Producing green hydrogen from 100% renewable energy

The Masshylia project aims to produce green hydrogen from solar photovoltaic energy to initially supply the TOTAL biorefinery in La Mède. This is the first large-scale project in France aiming to decarbonize the industry and avoid CO2 emissions.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource efficiency

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Energy Decarbonisation

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Energy efficiency improvements

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Improving efficiency in non-energy resources

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Emission removal

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Financing low-carbon issuers or disinvestment from carbon assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

The aim of the MASSHYLIA project is to develop a complete value chain for the production of renewable energy (from photovoltaic solar panels) and decarbonized hydrogen, mainly for industrial uses and, in particular, for Total's biorefinery in La Mède.

The energy transition and climate change adaptation are long-term challenges that must be addressed. To this end, the European Union has set ambitious targets for achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. TOTAL's La Mède industrial site is part of this plan: in 2019, Total transformed the refinery into a world-class biorefinery.

This transformation represents the first step towards achieving global carbon neutrality. In addition to this transformation, the hydrogen consumed at the site is now being replaced with green hydrogen. This involves substituting carbon-based hydrogen for hydrogen produced from renewable energy. So, it is only natural that Total has joined forces with Engie, two world-class champions working together to develop this ambitious project; a global first on an industrial scale. Initially, this project aims to supply the La Mède site and then to develop a hydrogen ecosystem to facilitate its use for mobility, industrial and energy purposes.

The 100% Integrated (Renewable/Storage/Hydrogen Production) architecture represents the cutting-edge in design. It reflects the scale of the challenges that must be overcome to decarbonize industrial hydrogen supply needs while managing the intermittency of renewable energies.

The consumption of green hydrogen at the Total biorefinery, in the first instance, is a key benefit of the MASSHYLIA project. It enables supply to a customer, an industrial development, at a renowned site, to facilitate the subsequent deployment of this process on a large scale. This project is in keeping with the roadmap of the South Hydrogen Region and the Regional Urban Planning Scheme for Sustainable Development and Equality of Territories.

Photovoltaic panels with an approximate capacity of 110 MW will be installed near the site and will supply a 40 MW electrolyzer. Initially, all of the hydrogen produced will be consumed by the Biorefinery site as a substitute for the gray hydrogen produced through steam-methane reforming (without capturing or storing the CO2 emitted) which is currently being consumed.

In a later phase, depending on local demand (transport/heating/electricity), this electrolyzer’s use could be maximized to supply local needs, or even be connected to a H2 transport network. The electrolyzer will be installed on an industrial site and will comply with industrial standards while offering a local environmental benefit.

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 3 - Green hydrogen production 

  • Quantification: 15 ktCO2/year (1st phase of the project)

In a conventional hydrogen production process (by steam-methane reforming), 1 ton of hydrogen produced generates approximately 9 tCO2 of emissions. The production of 1660 tH2 of green H2 will therefore avoid the emission of 15 ktCO2 per year, in phase one of the project.

On the other hand, the green electricity produced by the photovoltaic panels that will be built by the Masshylia Project, is deemed as zero in terms of CO2 emissions under the ETS.


Key points

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Invested amount


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Starting date of the project

September 2020

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Project localisation

Refinery in Mède, Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, Bouches du Rhône

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation échelle

Economic profitability of the project (ROI)

Short term (0-3 years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Illustrations of the project

This project targets the following 3 of the 17 sustainable development goals:

  • SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth: by developing a Safety Center of Excellence, in collaboration with local partners, based on local and international expertise;
  • SDG 9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure and SDG 11 Sustainable cities and human settlements: by promoting sustainable industrialization that benefits everyone and, by 2030, provides opportunities for communities in the region to reduce their environmental impact;
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production: by promoting sustainable management and the rational use of natural resources (no over-consumption of drinking water) and by sharing utilities with the existing biorefinery site.

By promoting a form of sustainable industrialization that will benefit everyone, by 2030, this project will offer communities in the region the opportunity to reduce their environmental impact and avoid at least 15 kTCO2 during phase one. By maximizing the use of the electrolyzer, the production of green hydrogen could be increased to 15T/d, with the impact of avoiding 45 kTCO2 in the area. This maximum use will depend on market development.

Currently, the TOTAL – ENGIE partnership is considering the option of working with new partners to develop the project (public or private: TSO, Equipment manufacturers). As such, the project has received more than 15 letters of support.

The project team is also developing links with ENSOSP to set up a Center of Expertise on an international scale and for the opening of the La Mède hydrogen plant to test new technologies produced by start-ups.

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