Air Liquide works on all hydrogen production and distribution processes, from desulfurizing hydrocarbons in refineries to accompanying the deployment of hydrogen energy.
The most important current use of hydrogen (nearly two thirds of the quantity sold by Air Liquide) is the desulfurization of hydrocarbons to produce sulfur-free fuels.
In 2015, the hydrogen supplied by Air Liquide to refineries avoided discharging 1.2 million tons of sulfur oxides into the atmosphere which is nearly four times as much as the total
sulfur oxide emissions of a country like France.
Sulfur oxides can cause respiratory problems in humans. Not only are they responsible for the emergence of urban smog but also for acid rains, which cause deforestation and the acidification of water. Moreover, sulfur quickly deteriorates the performance of catalytic converters of vehicles.
Hydrogen is one of the solutions that offer a response to the challenges of clean transportation: reducing greenhouse gases, pollution in our cities and dependency on oil-based fuels.
Used in the fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, with water as the only by-product. Hydrogen can be produced from renewable energy sources. Hydrogen thus has great potential to provide clean energy and be an alternative to fossil fuels.
Hydrogen energy is a fast-growing field of which the Group masters the entire industrial chain (from production and storage to distribution and uses for the end user) and is also actively involved in setting up this industry.
Blue Hydrogen is an Air Liquide initiative that aims to gradually lower the carbon content of its hydrogen production dedicated to energy applications. 95% of the hydrogen that the Group produces is currently from natural gas.
Air Liquide is committing to increasing by 2020 the percentage of hydrogen produced for these applications from carbon-free processes, i.e. sources that emit no CO2. The Group’s objective is to produce at least 50% of the hydrogen required by hydrogen energy applications from carbon-free energy sources, by combining:
On January 17, 2017 in Davos, Switzerland, 13 leaders from energy, transport, and industry sectors launched a global initiative called Hydrogen Council, in order to share their vision and ambition for hydrogen as an accelerator of the energy transition and to meet climate change targets. During this launch, the members of the Hydrogen Council, of which Air Liquide is a founding member, demonstrated their desire to intensify their investments in the development of the market of hydrogen and fuel cells. Their investments are currently estimated at 1.4 billion euros per year and could increase by more than 40% in the next five years.