On 8 October 2008, under Community rules on State aid, the European Commission authorized the €67.6 million funding granted at the end of 2007 by OSEO (French agency for innovation support) for the Horizon Hydrogen Energy (H2E) innovation program, coordinated by the Air LiquideGroup,in the field of hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells.
Today, the planet is faced with a dual challenge: environmental and energy. Within this context, access to sustainable mobility is a strategic issue to reduce greenhouse gases, pollution in cities and to lower the dependency on oil-based fuels. Hydrogen, used as an energycarrier, is one of the solutions tomeet these challenges in the short-term.
The H2E program, which represents an overall investment in research and technology of almost €200 million over 7 years, aimsat building sustainable and competitive hydrogenenergy solutions. The research and development will cover the full hydrogen energy value chain. In particular, it will investigate the development of innovative technologies for hydrogen production using renewable energy, hydrogen storage and industrialization of fuel cells. H2E will also contribute to the setting up of a suitable regulatory framework, and will include a program of demonstrations and educational measures to familiarize the wider public with thisnew, clean energy vector.
This ambitious program brings together around Air Liquide twenty partners in the field of hydrogen energy: industrial groups, small and medium-sized companies and French public research laboratories. Thisis a unique opportunity to place France and Europe at the leading edge ofthis key sector for sustainable mobility.
François Darchis, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee, in charge ofAdvanced Technologies, declared:
"For more than 40 years, Air Liquide has developed unique know-how along the whole hydrogen chain. The H2E program will enable the Group to confirm its position as a major player in the development of hydrogen-energy, and to be ready for the emergence of hydrogen in transport by 2015. Air Liquide believes that it is its responsibility as the world leader to open new markets and introduce scientific and technological innovation into society."