the quiet revolution
Light and natural, hydrogen has an obvious role to play in the energy mix.
Now that the first standard production hydrogen-powered cars have been put on the market, this energy solution is coming to our cities. In fact, it’s an accessible alternative that meets the challenges of clean transportation.
It will also make its way into our apartment buildings and homes (especially in heating and power generation) and even into our pockets (mobile phone batteries).
Hydrogen energy can compensate for the intermittency (day/night variations for solar power, irregular flows for wind power) of renewable energies by storing the excess electricity produced during periods of high production and/or low consumption. This makes hydrogen an interesting solution to the challenges of the energy transition.
If 1% of all the world's cars in circulation converted to hydrogen, they would create a hydrogen market estimated to be worth 15 billion euros.
The hydrogen car is a clear example and a first step towards a "hydrogen society".
Satisfaction and performance
The hydrogen car is a vehicle that produces its own electric energy "on board" with a fuel cell that runs on hydrogen. While the car boasts characteristics similar to those of a "conventional" car, it also offers many additional benefits to its users.
The only by-product of hydrogen-powered vehicles is water. They are very efficient over long-distance trips, which currently account for 75% of CO₂ emissions from the transportation sector.
Hydrogen cars are quiet.
and long life battery
Thanks to the hydrogen stations installed by Air Liquide, charging is extremely easy and safe and takes less than 5 minutes. A single charging of hydrogen gives the car a driving range of 310 to 375 miles.
The hydrogen fuel cell, how does it work?
The hydrogen fuel cell converts the energy contained in the hydrogen molecule into electricity by mixing it with oxygen.
Hydrogen is injected into the fuel cell.
When it comes into contact with the anode, hydrogen electrons and protons are separated, producing the electricity needed to power the engine.
On the other side of the membrane, oxygen causes the protons to react, thus forming steam. In consequence: the vehicle does not release any CO₂ or particles and makes no noise.
The service life of a fuel cell is of over 14,000 hours.
The hydrogen charging station, how does it work?
Low pressure hydrogen is stored in cylinders, tanks or tube trailers.
The hydrogen is compressed again and then stored in cylinders known as "buffers." It is then cooled so that it can be distributed.
Drivers can charge their vehicle in under five minutes.
The distribution network challenge
A developing network
We are deploying a global network of hydrogen charging stations currently spanning Japan, Denmark, France, Germany, and the United States. Depending on the specific characteristics of each country, the Group works alone or in partnership with local industrial firms. As a result, Air Liquide collaborates with automobile manufacturers and government authorities to develop hydrogen energy.
More than 60 hydrogen charging stations built around the world
Air Liquide is playing an active role in developing the hydrogen energy sector on an international scale. It now operates charging stations for private consumers in Europe - in Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Düsseldorf (Germany), and several cities in Denmark - and the United States. The Group is also very well represented in Japan.
Toward low-carbon production:
Hydrogen can be produced from a range of energy sources, including natural gas and renewable energies. The Group is committed to producing at least 50% of its hydrogen energy without CO₂ emissions by 2020. This is the Group’s "Blue Hydrogen" initiative.
To achieve this, Air Liquide combines biogas reforming, the use of renewable energies during water electrolysis, and the use of technologies for the capture and upgrading of carbon emitted during the process of producing hydrogen from natural gas.
Even when it is produced from natural gas, hydrogen is a virtuous energy: for equal distances traveled, hydrogen cars allow to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared with combustion vehicles.
The "hydrogen society"
Air Liquide, a pioneer in the hydrogen energy sector
Air Liquide is a vital actor in the hydrogen energy sector because of its expertise and experience with the entire supply chain: production, storage, distribution and use by end customers.
In addition to the personal vehicle market, Air Liquide supplies charging stations for buses in Norway and Switzerland. The Group also offers electricity supply solutions that are especially well suited to emergency work or special events in isolated sites. Europe, Canada and the United States have also seen the emergence of several programs to develop and market fuel cells for fleets of forklifts and airport baggage handling vehicles.
These innovative projects position us as a leading company in the development of hydrogen energy on an international scale.
The hydrogen revolution
Hydrogen is to energy what the Internet once was to information technology: a real revolution.
Thanks to the expertise developed by Air Liquide in industry (aerospace and petrochemicals) and to the miniaturization of batteries, hydrogen now offers an array of possibilities for a variety of applications: powering tablets, computers and telephones; producing heat; etc.
As a result, hydrogen energy is one of the solutions to the challenges of clean transportation and the energy transition. And Air Liquide will play a part in its implementation.
- nearly 460 billion ft.3 hydrogen produced by the Group in 2013 for refinery and petrochemical markets.
- Current production levels could power nearly 10 million hydrogen-powered vehicles.