As a pioneer in hydrogen, Air Liquide is convinced that this molecule will be decisive in the energy transition. The Group is responding to the urgency of climate change and is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Hydrogen will be key to achieving this goal by making it possible to meet two major challenges to which Air Liquide is committed: decarbonizing heavy industry and revolutionizing clean mobility.
Hydrogen will represent 22% of the energy mix in 2050
A strong commitment to produce renewable or low-carbon hydrogen
Mastering the entire hydrogen value chain
Technologies and know-how for multiple applications in industry and mobility
Hydrogen, at the heart of Air Liquide's activities
Thanks to its unique hydrogen expertise developed in industry (space, aeronautics, heavy industry) over the last 50 years, Air Liquide masters the entire value chain: production, transport, storage and distribution.
This unique positioning and technological expertise, particularly in extreme cryogenics, makes Air Liquide a key player in the implementation of hydrogen projects, enabling it to meet all the needs of its customers in many sectors of activity.
Hydrogen has many uses. As a high density energy carrier, non-toxic, non-corrosive and non-polluting, hydrogen can be used in fuel cells to generate heat and electricity. It is also a useful raw material for many industrial sectors. It can be stored on a large scale and transported in liquid or gaseous form.
€8 bn invested in the entire low-carbon hydrogen value chain by 2035
3 GW of electrolysis capacity invested by 2030
A major lever for the decarbonization of industry
Through its Large Industries business line, Air Liquide already serves customers in the world's main industrial basins. This proximity, combined with our expertise and technologies, allows us to develop synergies between the industrial and mobility markets, to ensure the availability of hydrogen in large quantities.
Hydrogen can be used in many industrial sectors that are challenging to decarbonize, for its energy potential or as a raw material:
- Refining, to desulfurize hydrocarbons
- Chemistry, to produce methanol and synthetic fuels
- Metallurgy, for heat treatment
But also in Electronics, as a carrier gas, research and analysis, welding, cement production, glassmaking...
Since 2019, Air Liquide and thyssenkrupp Steel, the world leader in flat rolled carbon steel, have been collaborating on an innovative project to produce low carbon steel. Hydrogen is injected on a large scale to partially replace the coal sprayed in the blast furnace during steel production.
In 2021, Air Liquide and ArcelorMittal announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding to implement solutions for low-carbon steel production in Dunkirk (France). The two companies are joining forces to transform the steel production process through the development of innovative solutions involving the use of low-carbon hydrogen and CO2 capture technologies.
Revolutionizing clean transportation
Hydrogen is at the heart of the clean transport revolution. As a precursor of hydrogen mobility, Air Liquide, through its Hydrogen Energy activity, has been using its existing industrial facilities, technologies and expertise to develop applications for transportation and in particular hydrogen stations for over 20 years. Hydrogen-powered electric vehicles are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity on board the vehicle from the onboard hydrogen. With a recharge time of less than 5 minutes, allowing an autonomy of more than 600 km, hydrogen energy is particularly well suited to captive fleets: cabs, buses, utility vehicles, forklifts, etc.
Thanks to hydrogen, Air Liquide is supporting the transition of the transport sector towards environmentally friendly mobility, in particular through its expertise in liquid hydrogen, which is particularly well suited to intensive mobility. The most promising markets for heavy mobility are road freight, maritime and aviation.
Reducing emissions from heavy transport (trucks, buses, boats, planes, etc.) also makes it possible to considerably improve air quality and limit noise levels in dense areas.
Air Liquide continues to develop large-scale projects and strategic alliances to accelerate the transition to hydrogen for mobility.
Air Liquide and the Port of Rotterdam have announced the launch of a joint initiative to deploy 1,000 hydrogen trucks between the Netherlands, Belgium and western Germany by 2025.
Air Liquide has installed more than 150 hydrogen stations around the world: France, Japan, Korea, Germany, United States... The largest hydrogen station in the world was inaugurated in Daxing (China) in 2021. It is equipped with Air Liquide technology and can deliver nearly 5 tonnes per day.
Air Liquide, Airbus and VINCI Airports have signed a partnership to develop the use of hydrogen in airports and build the European airport network needed to host the future hydrogen aircraft. The pilot airport of Lyon-Saint Exupéry (France) will host the first installations in 2023.
Air Liquide, Airbus and the ADP Group have signed a memorandum of understanding to prepare for the arrival of hydrogen in airports in 2035. Initially, a study on Paris CDG airport and a panel of some 30 airports around the world will determine the different configurations for the development and supply of liquid hydrogen.
Producing low-carbon hydrogen
In this context, a major challenge for Air Liquide is to scale up the production of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen to decarbonize our activities and those of our customers committed to the energy transition.
Our technologies and our capacity for innovation enable us to offer, depending on market needs, renewable or low-carbon hydrogen produced
- By electrolysis from renewable energies (wind, solar, hydro) or low-carbon sources
- By methane or biomethane reforming with CO2 capture and storage
Thanks to electrolysis, renewable energies - intermittent by nature - can be converted into hydrogen. As the molecule can be stored and transported so that it can be accessed at any time, hydrogen is a way of not losing the renewable energy produced during peak production periods.
In Denmark, the HyBalance project, initiated in 2016 and piloted by Air Liquide, enables electricity obtained from renewable energy (wind, thanks to wind turbines) to be stored, thus contributing to balancing the network, while promoting the deployment of renewable energy sources for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis. The site supplies hydrogen powered buses.
In 2021, Air Liquide completed the construction of the world's largest PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer. Fueled by renewable energy, this unit produces up to 8.2 tonnes per day of renewable hydrogen in Bécancour, Quebec. With a capacity of 20 MW, this PEM electrolyzer is the largest plant of its kind in the world currently in operation and will help meet the growing demand for low-carbon hydrogen in North America.
In France, Air Liquide Normand'Hy aims to build an electrolyser of at least 200 MW for large-scale renewable hydrogen production near Port-Jerôme (France). This strategic investment will support the development of a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem in the Normandy industrial basin. The site is scheduled to be commissioned in 2025.
Air Liquide is building a unit in Oberhausen, Germany, to produce renewable hydrogen by electrolysis. With a capacity of 30 MW, the first phase of this production unit should be operational at the beginning of 2023. This electrolyzer, developed with Siemens, will be connected to Air Liquide's existing local pipeline infrastructure to supply renewable hydrogen to key industries and mobility in one of Germany's most industrialized regions.
The Hydrogen Council
Launched in 2017 in Davos under the impetus of Air Liquide and Toyota, the Hydrogen Council is a global initiative designed to bring the voice of hydrogen to the international stage in order to promote a long-term vision of hydrogen technologies and uses, and to accelerate its large-scale deployment by mobilizing all the players in the ecosystem, both industrial and political. As such, it has published several studies on the subject.
Today, the Hydrogen Council brings together more than 120 members - companies from the energy, transport and industry sectors as well as financial players - all determined to contribute to limiting global warming to 1.5°C.