By encouraging active discussions with public authorities, its industrial partners, NGOs and others, Air Liquide is supporting the emergence of a low-carbon society, in particular via the development of hydrogen (especially for mobility), biomethane and adapted refrigerated transportation.
Hydrogen, a solution for energy transition
Offering several applications in the energy field, hydrogen is a key solution for the energy transition. Its industrial use already helps produce more environmentally-friendly fuels, for example by decreasing their sulfur content, and hydrogen has major potential in terms of mobility and, more generally, energy usages. When associated with fuel cells, hydrogen can be used to produce electricity aboard vehicles (such as cars, buses, trucks, trains) or for stationary applications. It is also a renewable electricity storage solution (for wind or solar energy) and can compensate for the intermittent nature of these sources. A fuel cell can then be used to provide electrical energy from stored hydrogen.
Hydrogen has major potential and new energy applications are regularly being developed. This molecule has therefore become an essential solution to meet the challenge of energy and climate transition, and could notably contribute to up to 20% of the reduction in CO2 emissions required to limit global warming to 2°C by 2050. Air Liquide actively contributes to the promotion of hydrogen energy, in particular through the Hydrogen Council.
Find out more: Destination: hydrogen
Biomethane, energy for recycling
Air Liquide has developed technologies and know-how across the entire biomethane value chain. This natural gas is produced through the purification of biogas produced from the fermentation of organic waste (agricultural, domestic and industrial). As a substitute for fossil-based natural gas, biomethane can be used in several ways: by injection into the natural gas network, as a raw material for the production of low-carbon hydrogen, or as a fuel for compatible vehicles.
Clean refrigerated transportation
With innovations in cryogenic cold production using liquid nitrogen (BlueezeTM) and liquid CO2 (CryocityTM for small utility vehicles), Air Liquide offers alternatives to existing diesel-based mechanical cooling technologies. Cryogenic cold production is particularly interesting for the refrigerated transportation of perishable goods, an area in which city deliveries are increasing, thanks to the success of online shopping. In addition to their efficiency in maintaining the cold chain, these solutions dramatically decrease the carbon footprint of the transport of goods, and also result in much quieter deliveries.
Hydrogen has its own council
Motivated by the desire for a hydrogen-based society and to make this essential molecule a key solution in the energy transition, Air Liquide and Toyota created the Hydrogen Council in 2017. The Council currently has more than 50 members: energy suppliers (including Engie and EDF in France), oil companies (such as Total), automotive and automotive equipment manufacturers (BMW, Faurecia...). This Council has taken an active part in high-ranking international events such as the Davos World Economic Forum, Climate Week in New York, the One Planet Summit, the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, and UN Conferences (COP), to promote hydrogen and fuel cell sectors. This has instilled strong momentum and paved the way for significant advances in this market, in particular with policy-makers and States.
Biomethane, and waste becomes energy
Air Liquide is a major player in this sector with 12 biomethane production units operating worldwide (at the end of 2018) and actively participates in the development of this virtuous energy source. On the one hand, the Group is stepping up its biomethane production capacity, which currently represents the equivalent of 0.8 TWh per year and should reach 5 TWh by 2025. On the other hand, it is expanding its usages beyond the injection into the natural gas network by rolling out charging stations to provide clean fuel to the compatible truck fleets of carriers looking to significantly reduce their ecological footprint. Thanks to its presence on the entire biomethane value chain, from production to distribution, Air Liquide is active in setting up this circular economy, which is beneficial to the environment.
Cleaner refrigerated deliveries with CryocityTM
This innovative onboard refrigerated unit prototype , especially designed for small utility vehicles which deliver fresh and frozen produce in towns and cities, is currently being developed by Air Liquide in partnership with Petit Forestier (refrigerated transport) and Comptoir du Frais (retailer). CryocityTM is based on the use of dry ice, a source of cold that is instantly produced from a liquid CO2 source and is powerful enough to keep produce cold for the duration of the delivery route. The CryocityTM unit is entirely independent from the vehicle’s engine, allowing for silent deliveries day and night and thus contributing to reducing both the pollutants emitted and the carbon footprint (-50% for the latter compared with systems which use fossil fuels). The Group is continuing to develop this solution in order to expand its use.