Guy Breden, a spokesperson for hydrogen

As a candidate in the European elections on the CSV list, Guy Breden is arguing, among other things, in favour of alternatives to electrification, such as hydrogen.

Published on 13/05/2024, updated on 14/05/2024

"Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages"

In January 2021, Guy Breden became the first motorist in the country to opt for hydrogen when he acquired a second-generation Toyota Mirai. At that time, there were no hydrogen filling stations in the country. As a software engineer and a European candidate on the CSV list (with elections scheduled for June 9), he regularly traveled to Saarbrücken, Germany, to refuel.

Despite this, he has not been deterred from hydrogen. On the contrary, for several months now, he has been able to refuel in Bettembourg at the hydrogen service station managed by TotalEnergies, located near the CFL multimodal center. “The service station was still in the testing phase, but I was able to obtain permission to refuel there and contribute to the tests,” he says with a smile. The site, which was inaugurated in September 2023, has restricted access.

Far from opposing the electrification of the automotive industry, Guy Breden advocates for expanding the range of technologies to be adopted. “I’m convinced that mobility needs to utilize the full spectrum of technologies, from thermal propulsion to hydrogen and electric, and not just focus on 100% electric. Each technology has its pros and cons. For hydrogen, which I am very familiar with, the energy cell is much easier to recycle than batteries,” explains this enthusiast of new technologies and sustainable development. “Of course, the hydrogen in question also has to be green. I believe we’re going to succeed in producing more of it in the coming years, and some applications are already demonstrating the potential of hydrogen. Moreover, it’s even possible to produce hydrogen at home…” says Guy Breden, who can speak passionately about the subject for hours.

At the moment, only a few manufacturers have embarked on the hydrogen journey, including Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW. The German manufacturer is testing an iX5 Hydrogen. Its long range and short refueling times make the Munich model a pioneer, along with Toyota, in hydrogen-based sustainable mobility. The German manufacturer claims that the car can be refueled in just 3-4 minutes, giving it a range of around 504 km. “Hydrogen is the missing piece for emission-free mobility, because a single technology will not be sufficient to enable climate-neutral mobility worldwide,” said Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, recently.

Returning to Guy Breden, he has just completed a round trip to Lake Garda from Luxembourg, a distance of 2,100 km. “Overall, everything went well. It must be said that the hydrogen supply network is well developed in Germany and Switzerland. It is also beginning to be developed in Austria. In Italy, however, there is currently only one station in Bozen. This station, which is part of a research institute, is very well designed and integrates a number of services, such as car rental, into an ecosystem geared towards businesses, a rather interesting concept that enables the site to function. Thanks to European subsidies, Italy will begin to build its network with a dozen hydrogen sites, notably in Milan and Venice. This just goes to show how important it is to have a coherent European policy in this area,” he adds.

With few hydrogen vehicles on the road, the price per kilo is still logically high, even if it is subsidized. A kilo of hydrogen costs €13 in Luxembourg and €15 in Germany. In Italy, the same kilo costs €20. Experts believe that it will have to cost between €6 and €7 a kilo to be truly attractive to the general public. “In Italy, hydrogen is much more expensive, but that’s also due to the fact that it’s 100% green hydrogen, whereas in Germany it’s only a third green at the moment. This price is still well below the cost of production, which means that the stations are not making any money. Hence the importance of encouraging the development of a hydrogen network to democratize the increasingly efficient fuel cell. Eventually, the price per kilo will come down and more and more green hydrogen will be produced,” Guy Breden hopes, having just returned from his experience abroad with his Mirai, which has a range of between 400 and 750 km, depending on driving conditions.

A committed politician, Guy Breden wants to take his convictions all the way to Brussels to highlight the potential of hydrogen for mobility, as well as all the other technologies that can be used for transportation. “When it comes to mobility, I’m a bit concerned about the systematic use of batteries, particularly when it comes to the extensive use of rare metals and the issue of recycling. In its plans, the government tends to reserve hydrogen for industry. I don’t think that mobility can necessarily be exempt from this,” Guy Breden concludes.