Laurence Grand-Clément - Persee

Founder @Persee

Every hero has an extraordinary story, and this is even truer for our hydrogen heroes. This is the story of Laurence Grand Clément, founder of Persee and involved in the world of hydrogen for 10 years.

Can you tell me what you did for a living before entering the world of hydrogen?

I had a classic career after my studies at X and Insead, with positions of responsibility in major groups in France and abroad. In 2012, I decided to change direction by taking part in the construction of an energy transition laboratory whose mission was to think about energy in a global way, to get away from the silo view by type of energy, in order to bring out new cross-disciplinary and sustainable solutions.  

Peter Parker became Spiderman because he was bitten by a radioactive spider; who bit you with hydrogen?

In this laboratory, OPEL, one of the active members, had just put its first H2 vehicle, the Ampera, on the road and, if not bitten by hydrogen, at least put me on the road to this energy for mobility.  

As part of this working group, I quickly realised the need to think about hydrogen in a systemic way, and that's when I set up my own company, Persee. I immediately found a customer and funding to support the development of our first TedHy tool, and that's when I really got my feet wet in the world of hydrogen!  

My first customer was Enertrag, a manufacturer of electrolysers, which used electrolysis to store energy on its wind farms. In East Germany, they were sometimes obliged to disconnect wind turbines from the grid, which represented a net loss of producibility of around 20%. At the time, they had the technology to produce hydrogen from this surplus wind power, but they had not yet developed any uses for it (offtakers). So they were trying to think about the downstream side of their production, and Persee piloted one of these projects to develop renewable hydrogen from electricity that could not be fed into the electricity grid.

What makes Persee a pioneer in its field?  

At Persee, we take a systemic approach to the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure. In concrete terms, we help to answer the following questions simultaneously:  

Where should hydrogen infrastructures be deployed?  

What type(s) of infrastructure (technology, sizing)?  

What timing?

What scale of infrastructure (short and medium term)?  

The two main difficulties in answering these questions are the constantly changing technological context and the uncertain market.  

Our role is to help decision-makers, with our 100% Hydrogen expertise and our ability to model in great detail how hydrogen technologies, hydrogen logistics, etc. work.

Batman has his Joker, Peter Pan, Captain Hook: what are you fighting against on a daily basis?

I 'fight' against those who seek to perpetuate the carbon status quo, favouring the valuation of existing polluting assets, rather than reinvesting their considerable margins in clean energy solutions, even if they offer more uncertain financial returns. I don't know whether what horrifies me most is the greed or the lack of humanism. I hesitate...

Is hydrogen the future? 

In my opinion, hydrogen is clearly part of the future. But I would like to remind you that we must first work on :  


then efficiency,

then renewable energy,

and only then will renewable hydrogen find its place.

What is certain is that a zero-carbon future without hydrogen will be very complicated, and a future without zero-carbon will also be very complicated.

If you were a superhero, what would be your superpowers?

Robin of the seas, I would steal oil and gas revenues at their source and redeploy them as floating pearls of the seas (islands made up of wind turbines and hydrogen production).

< Back to all Heroes