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Accelerating innovation together

In a rapidly changing world, detecting customers’ needs is key to anticipate products and services that will meet their challenges—whether they be to gain efficiency, improve the user experience or reduce the environmental impact of their activities.This is the reason why Air Liquide collaborates with more than 100 start-ups around the world, across all its businesses. In line with our customer-centric NEOS strategy, this approach of open innovation enables the combination of expertise to develop new solutions and speed up time-to-market.

It is a win–win relationship; Air Liquide can access new technologies, and start-ups can accelerate the industrialization of their solutions while benefiting from the Group’s industrial experience and global customer base. Air Liquide notably cooperates with “deep tech” start-ups working on technological breakthroughs—generally characterized by long development time—to facilitate their access to market.

All in all, the connection to this innovation ecosystem helps us develop offers that set us apart, creating value for our Group, our customers and start-ups.

Air Liquide Venture Capital (ALIAD)

Since its creation in 2013, ALIAD has invested more than €80 million in 30 technology start-ups in three sectors: energy transition, healthcare and digital. These investments take the form of a minority interest with an agreement for technological or business partnership.

 

Maritime transport 2.0 with Julien Cote, CEO, Wakeo, France

Can you explain what you are working on?

Our solution enables us to monitor in real time the locations of road, sea and air shipments. By aggregating data from various hauliers and external sources such as satellites, we can provide predictive arrival times using a cutting-edge, algorithm-based processing system.

How long have you been working with Air Liquide?

Since 2017, as part of the Techstars program, an accelerator for start-ups around the world, we have been working with Air Liquide’s teams based in Dubai who notably oversee the global maritime distribution of helium. We track containers in real time so Air Liquide can plan for delays, alert its customers throughout the world, and optimize its transportation plan.  

How will this innovation change the world?

Our solution allows us to optimize routes and transport time, thereby helping to reduce the impact this activity has on the environment. This is important given that maritime transportation alone generates 1 billion metric tons of CO2, i.e. 3% of global emissions (according to the International Maritime Organization).

Next-generation semiconductors with Andrew Grenville, CEO, Inpria, United States

Can you explain what you are working on?

We’re developing unique metal oxide-based photoresist2 materials for semiconductor patterning. The current platform, based on organic materials, is reaching its critical limits, and a new solution is required to unlock the potential of the next generation of imaging technology.

How long have you been working with Air Liquide?  

Since 2015, we’ve partnered with Air Liquide Advanced Materials, then the Group has made a strategic investment in our start-up through ALIAD: a collaboration that has enabled us to leverage Air Liquide’s deep expertise in materials analysis and international logistics.

How will this innovation change the world?

For over 50 years, advances in semiconductor patterning—and by extension the electronics industry —have produced smaller, more affordable and more powerful chips. Now performance requirements are exceeding current capabilities: our optimized platform will allow computing power to continue to accelerate.

Industrial robotics with Joe Leist, CEO, Scantron Robotics, United States

Can you explain what you are working on?

We develop leading-edge underwater robotics to inspect and clean water tanks without interfering with the facility’s normal operations. Our robots are used in hazardous spaces where previously a human diver was required, allowing for improved safety, operational efficiency and productivity.

How long have you been working with Air Liquide?

Since 2015, we’ve been working with Air Liquide Large Industries and Airgas teams in the U.S. on tank-cleaning projects that use our underwater robotic inspection, sediment mapping, and ultrasonic thickness testing services. It’s exciting to work with such a big name!

How will this innovation change the world?

A remotely operated underwater vehicle makes accidents completely preventable. Our robots do the dangerous work, controlled at a safe distance by operators. Plus, our unique cleaning method reduces the risk of hazardous waste entering the environment by recycling the water back into the tank after it is cleaned.

Connected health with Erik Huneker, CEO, Diabeloop, France

Can you explain what you are working on?

We develop a personalized system that reproduces the functions of the pancreas that have been destroyed by type-1 diabetes3. Through an insulin pump and a blood sugar sensor, both connected and driven by an algorithm, the optimal dose of insulin is calculated and delivered to the patient in real time.  

How long have you been working with Air Liquide?  

In 2017, Air Liquide invested in our French start-up through ALIAD and is now helping us bring this system to the market. In addition to our connection to patients and hospitals, this collaboration gives us access to home healthcare providers who help patients in their day-to-day lives. Their experience is essential.

How will this innovation change the world?

This disruptive innovation will help improve the daily lives of the millions4 of people affected by this disease in Europe. By making the management of this condition partially automatic, this technology will spare patients the burden of making complex calculations.

1: Air Liquide is a partner of Techstars Paris.
2: A light-sensitive material used in photolithography, the process is used to form patterned coatings on silicon wafers in manufacturing integrated circuits.

3: Diabetes refers to an excess of glucose in the blood over a prolonged period of time. In the case of type-1 diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes, this imbalance is caused by the destruction of pancreatic cells specialized in insulin production by the patient’s own immune system (INSERM).​​​​
4: There were 60 million people with diabetes in Europe in 2016 (WHO). The type-1 diabetes represents between 6% and 10% of the diabetic population.

Article published on December 20, 2018