Solid hydrogen storage: the crazy and little-known bet of the founders of McPhy finally rewarded

In 2008, Daniel Fruchart and Michel Jehan developed a kind of magnesium wafer, similar to thick vinyl, capable of storing large quantities of hydrogen in a safe manner. But the application is quickly abandoned for lack of market. Fifteen years later, the context is quite different. The team behind this innovation is now distinguished on a European scale. The plant, abandoned in the Drôme, should resume service next fall while discussions are underway for international applications.

Fifteen years after co-founding McPhy, a French nugget specializing in the manufacture of electrolysers for the production of green hydrogen, Daniel Fruchart and Michel Jehan intend to do it again with a new entrepreneurial adventure. At more than 70 years old, the two friends do not change their playing field and always attack hydrogen, but this time its storage thanks to a magnesium hydride cake, resembling a thick vinyl 33 rounds.

“In reality, when we created the Mcphy company in 2008, the project was already concentrating on the storage of hydrogen in solid form”, says Michel Jehan, today at the head of the Jomi Leman company.

Fruit of the work of Daniel Fruchart, then director of research at the Néel Institute, a CNRS laboratory in Grenoble, and the expertise of Michel Jehan in metallurgy, McPhy started its production activity in La Motte-Fanjas, a small village northeast of the Drôme. At the time, the company benefited from the decisive support of Arevadelfi, a subsidiary of Areva.

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