Hydrogen - an environmentally friendly energy source of the future

15 january 2014

World Energy is on the cusp of profound change, and hydrogen as a clean energy carrier, in the short term is one of the most efficient solutions to our most pressing ecological problems: reducing the amount of greenhouse gases, reducing pollution in our cities and dependence on oil-based fuels.

When used in a fuel cell, hydrogen is combined with oxygen from the air to produce electricity, with the only byproduct is water. Hydrogen can be obtained from various sources, in particular from natural gas and also from renewable sources. Thus, hydrogen has great potential for the production of clean energy and ensure the reliability of its production.

Hydrogen energy - a rapidly growing industry in which the Group "Air Liquide" has mastered the entire production chain - from production and storage and ending with the distribution and use.
Within the Group, "Air Liquide" there is a network of entrepreneurial, innovative and dynamic companies aB & T, at the forefront of design and development of new technologies.

aB & T offers innovative solutions for the hydrogen energy market:
for stationary use as a reliable source of energy to supply electricity to remote sites using a high-pressure hydrogen and fuel cells Axane (Axane - division "Air Liquide", located entirely in his property);

for intra-corporate fleet, cars and buses. Development of hydrogen distribution network using the hydrogen supply system at high pressure to supply the filling stations of vehicles powered by fuel cells.

Development and sale of hydrogen fuel elements HyPulsion for forklifts. HyPulsion - a joint venture owned 80% Axane, unit "Air Liquide", and 20% Plug Power, a global leader in the manufacture of fuel cells for forklift trucks.
Hydrogen - the "blue fuel" and solutions to create clean energy

The search for new energy sources for vehicles led to this shift in the paradigm of one energy source can not meet all needs, as it makes oil currently . We need a new structure of energy sources. Hydrogen energy is most definitely belongs to these new sources of energy : although electric vehicles to fuel cell (FCEV) and fuel cell technology , may not fully satisfy all the needs of vehicles, however, they are extremely effective for long trips distances, which are currently the source of 75% of CO2 emissions generated by transport.

Hydrogen is a very effective way of energy development: when traveling at equal distance electric vehicles to fuel cell (FCEV) can reduce by 20% the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) "well-to-wheel" compared to cars with internal combustion engines. Currently, 95% of the hydrogen produced from natural gas.

With hydrogen , this "blue fuel ", " Air Liquide " surely moving towards gradual decarbonization of its hydrogen production , intended for use as an energy source .
In practice, the company " Air Liquide " decided in 2020 to produce at least 50% of the hydrogen needed for these applications , through carbon-free processes through a combination of :
reforming of biogas and renewable energy during the electrolysis of water;
technologies for capturing and storing carbon in the process of hydrogen production based on natural gas.

The development of modern industrial society in the direction of a more sustainable production processes and consumer habits requires considerable resources, although we are entering an era of dwindling natural resources. Gradual progress in the use of hydrogen as a "blue fuel" promotes market and market participants to mobilize investment in industrial production.
Vehicles running on hydrogen energy: will be ready for use by the 2015 - 2017 years.


Car manufacturers have announced their plans to sell cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells , for 2015 - 2017 years. " Air Liquide " contributes to the development of this business by supporting distribution infrastructures needed globally.
The company " Air Liquide " developed hydrogen filling stations where road tanks can be refueled with hydrogen gas at a pressure up to 700 bar in less than five minutes. More than 60 such stations are already working in different countries . For 2013 hydrogen fuel filling station " Air Liquide " carried 250,000 gas stations.

In Whistler, Canada, "Air Liquide" signed a contract for ten years to build a hydrogen fueling station designed for 20 buses, since February 2010 on the occasion of the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and the Paralympic Games. This bus fleet of hydrogen fuel - the largest in the world.

Since 2012 in Germany in central Dusseldorf works publicly available hydrogen fueling station. During this follow-art station 10 new hydrogen filling stations, which will be designed, built and put into operation in the next three years by the Government of Germany through a major demonstration project. By 2015, Germany will have a network consisting of no less than 50 public stations.

Japan's government is considering the use of hydrogen as the main energy source, the promising automotive industry. Prior to 2015, it plans to install about 100 hydrogen filling stations. The company "Air Liquide" intends to build a large number of such stations and has already secured its robust presence in Japan. It is already installed three hydrogen filling station in Tokyo, Kawasaki and Saga.

Within the framework of the European project SWARM 2014 the company "Air Liquide" designed and installed three new high (40 refills per day) of hydrogen filling stations in Bremen (Germany), Birmingham (UK) and Brussels (Belgium).

Intended field of application

In the field of hydrogen energy "Air Liquide" already offers solutions for decentralized power generation and distribution equipment for hydrogen.

Forklifts for fuel cells are the fastest growing of all sectors of the market of hydrogen energy.

In Europe as a whole and, in particular, in France, was recently launched several projects. The company "Air Liquide" signed a contract with the international giant of the retail sale of goods for household IKEA to install a hydrogen filling station for the logistics center in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier. Initially, the station will provide about twenty forklifts working on hydrogen fuel cell - batteries produced by HyPulsion.

The company "Air Liquide" signed a contract to supply hydrogen and found a gas station for a new fleet of Walmart «green" trucks in the company's new logistics center is located in Canada.

Placement of car parks with their refueling equipment (hydrogen distribution stations) aims to increase productivity while reducing emissions at the location. New areas of application - this park warehouse forklifts and transportation facilities at airports.

Hydrogen fuel cells and, solutions for:
Stationary, silent carbon-free energy production in use for non-electrified hardware (or hardware standby connection to the network), especially for the stations antenna switch mobile phones.

The company "Air Liquide" commissioned fuel cells for more than 100 telecommunications sites in different countries. For example, since the end of January 2013 Belgacom in Wemmel, Belgium, uses the fuel cell system developed by Axane.
Portable power generation plants for reserve units or for special occasions.

Each year in the period from the production of hydrogen prior to its use in a fuel cell compared with traditional sources of energy allows us to reduce CO2 emissions by 35 tons. Term operation of fuel cells at 12 000 hours, which was achieved through the company Axane, ensures their competitiveness, amplifying optimized maintenance costs.

In addition to these applications, the first "Air Liquide" contributes significantly to the formation of the market and spread the use of hydrogen as a clean energy source for vehicles.
Hydrogen energy projects involving "Air Liquide"


"Air Liquide" intends to make this clean, renewable energy more affordable. The Group is actively pursuing a dual strategy, continuing to focus its efforts on research of hydrogen and innovation to improve existing technologies and the development of new, and taking part in a major international demonstration projects.

Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking platform (Joint Platform for fuel cells and hydrogen), which had for the period 2008 - 2013. budget of 940 million euros, is an innovative form of public-private partnership, managed jointly by the European Commission and European industrial operators of the sector. This platform is involved in the financing of major research and demonstration projects in Europe, aimed at the improvement and promotion of fuel cell technology and hydrogen. Since July 2011, the company "Air Liquide" chaired the European technical platform dedicated to research in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen in marketing (Fuel Cells & Hydrogen Joint Undertaking platform).

Program "Horizons hydrogen energy" (N2E), coordinated by "Air Liquide", was launched in October 2008 This highly innovative program is based on the experience and knowledge of both the group and the project partners (manufacturers, small and medium-sized firms, French public research laboratories). It aims to create a reliable and competitive solutions in the field of hydrogen energy. Research and development will cover the entire production chain of hydrogen energy. The total investment in research and technology is 190 million Euro.

Since 2010, "Air Liquide" is a partner of the initiative "H2 Mobility", aimed at evaluating and expanding hydrogen infrastructure to support mass production of electric vehicles running on hydrogen. This initiative began as implemented in the UK from 18 January 2012.

Since 2011, "Air Liquide" is also a partner of Clean Energy Partnership (Partnership for the development of clean energy), a public-private company, which aims at marketing of hydrogen as an energy future, focusing on test vehicles and filling stations in the wild operation. Mobile filling station in Berlin-Friedrichshain was installed as part of the Partnership for the production of clean energy (Clean Energy Partnership).

As a participant in the project CHIC Group established hydrogen station in Oslo, Norway, 5 for refueling buses from the Norwegian shipping company, and another in Aargau, Switzerland, where local authorities operate five buses.

Trans-European transport network of the European Union for the transportation program (TEN-T) provides financial support for the development of non-transport infrastructure. Finance territory TEN-T was designed for the project, providing accommodation HIT (hydrogen transport infrastructure) for the construction in Rotterdam (Netherlands) by the end of 2013 public hydrogen filling station "Air Liquide" supply pipe.

Hydrogen working environmental protection industry

Currently, the most important application of hydrogen (almost 2/3 of the amount sold by the Group) is the desulfurization of hydrocarbons to produce fuel that does not contain sulfur.

Desulfurization of hydrocarbons necessary to reduce emissions of sulfur oxides in the atmosphere, according to European and U.S. law is mandatory. Sulfur oxides can cause people to respiratory problems. They are not only the cause of smog in certain localities, but also acid rain, leading to the destruction of forests and water acidification. In addition, sulfur quickly degrade the performance of catalytic converters of automobiles.

Hydrogen is supplied "Air Liquide" to refineries around the world, in 2012, made it possible to avoid the release of 810 000 tons of sulfur oxides in the atmosphere, which is twice the emissions of sulfur oxides in France.

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