LEVALLOIS-PERRET (Hauts-de-Seine) (Reuters) – Plastic Omnium expects to be able to double its hydrogen order book within a year, currently around four billion euros, thanks in particular to the unexpected reinforcement of the market American, said Tuesday the general manager of the New Energies division of the automotive supplier.

Plastic Omnium has also significantly increased its market forecast for this electrical technology in North America. By 2030, the region should weigh a third of the world market, on a par with Europe and Asia, whereas until now the United States accounted for a negligible quantity in the projections.

“For 18 months, things have largely turned around with the famous IRA (Inflation Reduction Act) which subsidizes, in a rather heavy way, a certain number of economic sectors, including the establishment of green energy production, and the hydrogen falls right in there,” said Marc Perraudin during a press briefing on the group’s strategy.

A long-standing specialist in fuel tanks, Plastic Omnium has undertaken to diversify its activities to no longer depend solely on internal combustion vehicles, by developing, for example, in pressurized hydrogen storage and fuel cells.

This technology is called, according to the group, to coexist with that of battery-powered vehicles. Hydrogen, which makes it possible to produce electricity on board by rejecting only water, is better suited to heavy machinery – large pick-ups, buses, trucks and regional trains – while battery electricity will remain in the majority for cars.

Plastic Omnium announced in April that it had won a mega-order of 2.4 billion euros in the United States for hydrogen systems intended for commercial vehicles.

This contract, signed with a manufacturer whose identity the supplier did not specify, will require the construction by 2026 of a new plant – the tenth of the group in hydrogen – probably in the Midwest, has continued Marc Perraudin.

“It’s not the IRA that incites us, the IRA is causing a craze for the hydrogen that serves us,” said Laurent Favre, CEO of Plastic Omnium, on the subject of arbitration between the States- United, Asia and Europe for future investment.

“It’s a strategic choice that is not based on subsidies, but on an analysis of the market. Since we want to continue to grow, there are probably many more sources of growth in America, in Asia, in North Africa and throughout the Mediterranean belt, than in Europe.”

(Gilles Guillaume report, edited by Kate Entringer)

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