Green Corp Konnection (GCK), L’Alpe d'Huez, SATA Group (Société d'Aménagement Touristique de l'Alpe d'Huez, des Deux-Alpes et des Grandes Rousses) and Resalp have announced orders for five zero-emission hydrogen-powered snow groomers and three hydrogen-powered buses. The Is re resort will become the first to be so equipped, with the support of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Region.
At their congress in October 2020, Les Domaines Skiables de France presented a major plan to reduce their impact on the environment. Among the 16 eco-commitments put forward, the first three concern the replacement of snow groomers equipped with diesel engines (responsible for approximately 80% of the carbon emitted by French ski resorts1) by hydrogen-powered snow groomers to achieve carbon neutrality by 2037.
This ecological ambition is now materialising with the first historic orders for 5 snow groomers and 3 buses retrofitted in hydrogen vehicles, placed respectively by SATA Group and Resalp with the GCK group, for a cleaner mountain.
From the "Select" range of the German manufacturer K ssbohrer, the snow groomers will be retrofitted by GCK Industry, subsidiary of GCK, with technological solutions - engine, battery, fuel cell - developed in-house by GCK as part of its motorsport programs. Following an integration study launched in the second half of 2021, GCK Industry will soon start the conversion of the first vehicle with the integration of a 320 kilowatt (kW) electric motor with a maximum torque of 850 Newton metres (N.m). The fuel cell will produce 150kW of energy and will be powered by 70kg of hydrogen at 700 bars, stored in a set of automotive approved tanks. It will be coupled to a battery designed specifically for H2 applications by another GCK subsidiary, IBS.
These "new" zero-emission snow groomers will offer an autonomy of 8 hours in continuous operation as well as the same climbing and acceleration capacities as the original thermal vehicle. They have been ordered and will be operated by SATA Group, which has received financial support from the Auvergne-Rh ne-Alpes Region. The first vehicle will be tested during the winter of 2022-2023 before being approved and then put into series production, which will enable all the units to be operational from the winter of 2023-2024.
At the same time, in order to accelerate the transition to clean energy and to make passenger transport greener, the Alpe d'Huez resort will rely on its partner in charge of operating urban buses, the company Resalp, which has ordered 3 hydrogen retrofitted buses. The thermal power unit of the buses will be replaced by a 210kW electric motor powered by a 55kW fuel cell coupled to a 15KWh battery. The first prototype will also be delivered at the end of 2022 before entering the homologation phase in 2023 with a view to putting the 3 vehicles into service at the beginning of 2024.
This double order is part of the Region's hydrogen plan set up in 2017 by Laurent Wauquiez to develop a regional hydrogen ecosystem, through the installation of recharging stations and support for the acquisition of H2 vehicle fleets by local authorities.
For Éric Boudot, CEO of GCK: "This first order is a great source of pride for GCK and a major step forward in the decarbonisation of the mountain economy. GCK has set itself the objective of offering a range of hydrogen vehicles based on the circular economy of retrofitting, which will enable the use characteristics of combustion models to be retained, at a competitive price and with zero CO2 emissions. Today, it's a winning bet.”
For Jean-Yves Noyrey, Mayor of L’Alpe d'Huez: "L’Alpe d'Huez is proud to be able to launch these orders with SATA Group and Resalp, two quality service providers which are supporting us in the fight against greenhouse gas emissions. The entire resort is committed to protecting the nature that allows it to develop all the values of a tourism industry that supports an economy which only wants to survive."
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