Hydrogen, coupled with the fuel cell, is a locally clean and silent energy that can be used, among other things, in transportation. The use of hydrogen energy enables the reduction—and even the total elimination—of the CO2 emissions of vehicles that exploit it.
Hydrogen can be produced from diverse sources: natural gas, biomass, water and electricity. In a fuel cell, hydrogen combines with atmospheric oxygen to produce electricity, with water as the only by-product. Accordingly, it is a fuel of choice for the propulsion of cars equipped with an electrical engine, producing electricity on-board and generating no pollution.
For more than 40 years, Air Liquide has demonstrated its mastery over the entire industrial hydrogen chain, and today is taking part in the development of hydrogen energy by pursuing two lines of progress: innovation and full-scale demonstration programs.
In the realm of innovation, the Group is developing efficient tanks that will allow hydrogen-driven vehicles to attain a sufficient level of autonomy, exchangeable cartridges for smaller vehicles and distribution stations that can fill up vehicle tanks with gaseous hydrogen in less than five minutes, under conditions that are as simple as those for traditional fuels. Through its subsidiary AXANE, the Group is also developing and marketing fuel cells.
Air Liquide is coordinating Hychain Minitrans, a European project that involves developing fleets of small vehicles that run on fuel cells. In Canada, Air Liquide is supplying the filling stations and the hydrogen that will be used for vehicles during the upcoming Olympic Games in Vancouver, B.C. Air Liquide is also participating in the testing of several hydrogen vehicles for use within the airports of the Canadian cities Montreal and Vancouver.
The Group is also piloting the Horizon Hydrogène Energie (H2E) project, whose aim is to rapidly develop and market the first applications of hydrogen energy in Europe.