(Source: study « Hydrogen scaling up » made by the Hydrogen Council)
The commitments states agreed to during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), including reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and Japan by 80% by 2050 and switching 20% of China’s energy supply to non-fossil fuels by 2030, indicate the extent of the challenges ahead. The goals are clear: moving the energy secteur away from carbon to limit global warming and reduce atmospheric pollution to improve air quality. Air Liquide is convinced that hydrogen will play an important role in reaching these two targets and has invested towards developing it as a clean energy source. The Group is a pioneer in this field and masters the entire industrial chain, from production, storage and distribution to use by the final customer.
Convinced of hydrogen’s potential and backed by its expertise, Air Liquide is laying the groundwork for the advent of a hydrogen-based society. The year 2017 saw a key milestone when the Group founded the Hydrogen Council in partnership with Toyota. This initiative, the first of its kind in the world, joins together over 30 leaders in the transport, energy, and industrial sectors who have decided to speak with a single voice to convince public authorities and investors of the hydrogen’s potential with respect to climate change targets.
“Hydrogen, scaling up,” a study carried out in November 2017 by the Hydrogen Council with support from McKinsey, identified five key markets for hydrogen energy. Hydrogen is a particularly effective solution for clean mobility as hydrogen-powered electric cars do not emit any greenhouse gases or particles and do not make any noise. In addition, the electricity produced by wind turbines and solar panels – intermittent by nature – can be converted into hydrogen. Hydrogen can be easily stored, meaning the energy could be used whenever demand increases.
Air Liquide is turning these prospects into reality. In 2017, the Group continued to build hydrogen stations. For example, it has designed and installed two stations in Japan, nine in Germany and the first hydrogen station in the United Arab Emirates in Dubai. France’s first station in an airport zone was built in 2017 at Paris-Orly Airport. Another success is the Anaheim station located in California which completed 1,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle fill-ups after just 100 days in operation in early 2017. In terms of local municipalities, the Group delivered in 2017 a charging station in Oslo, Norway, to fuel five buses owned by a local transportation company. In the private sector in Canada, Air Liquide supplies four hydrogen stations that fuel the fleet of over 800 forklifts owned by the retail distribution group Walmart.
For hydrogen to live up to its full potential and foster energy transition, production will have to increase significantly and costs will have to be greatly reduced. Another key factor will be to gradually increase the share of carbon-free hydrogen produced globally. With its Blue Hydrogen program, Air Liquide is working to gradually phase out carbon from the hydrogen it produces for energy purposes. Concretely, Air Liquide has committed to producing at least 50% of the hydrogen needed for these applications without emitting any CO2 by 2020.