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Clean hydrogen

Producing hydrogen in a low-carbon process
In a world where the reduction of carbon emissions is a daily challenge for everyone, Air Liquide is working on developing innovative technologies and solutions for reducing carbon emissions during the hydrogen production process. Although hydrogen is mainly used today for industrial purposes in chemistry and refinery, it is increasingly used in other sectors, such as clean transportation.
  • 14 billion m3
    of H2 produced in 2015
    by Air Liquide

  • Current production levels could power nearly
    10 million
    hydrogen-powered vehicles

  • In 2015
    1,200,000 T of atmospheric SO
    were avoided thanks to H2

You too could be part of this improvement, either by using technologies for capturing and upgrading carbon emitted during the process of producing hydrogen from natural gas, by using renewable energies during water electrolysis, or through biogas reforming. 

Carbon capture

Today, the majority of hydrogen is produced from natural gas through the steam methane reforming (SMR) process. Air Liquide has developed an innovative cold capture system (Cryocap™) that captures the CO₂ released during this hydrogen production through a cryogenic process. A world first in this field, this technology could also improve efficiency, leading to increased hydrogen production. After purification, the captured CO₂ can be used to meet a variety of industrial needs for carbonic gas (carbonation of sparkling beverages, food preservation, freezing, etc.).

The first Cryocap™ unit - installed in Port Jérôme, France, where hydrogen is produced for the neighbouring refinery - has an annual capture capacity of 100,000 tonnes of CO₂.

With CO2 capture, H2 production increased by up to 20%
From 60 to 90% of the released CO2 is captured

Water electrolysis

Clean hydrogen can also be produced through water electrolysis. Air Liquide is demonstrating the advantages of this technology by leading a major project in Europe, HyBalance.This project was developed in Denmark and is supported by the European Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and the Danish ForskEL program. This is a major demonstration of the complete value chain, from the storage of hydrogen produced through renewable sources (wind turbines) to its distribution for applications in clean transportation and the industrial sector. This process also helps balance the grid. The hydrogen will be used for clean transportation, including the five existing hydrogen charging stations operated by Air Liquide in Denmark, which supply more than 60 Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles in circulation.

In the U.S., Air Liquide will utilize an innovative pathway for hydrogen sourcing at the Braintree, Massachusetts hydrogen fueling station using a water electrolysis system: Proton Onsite Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolysis, to generate onsite produced hydrogen

Biogas reforming

Thanks to the process of purification, biomethane is produced from biogas, composed primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. Biogas is a renewable energy produced during the anaerobic digestion of biomass or from sanitary landfills. This biomethane can be used to produce bio-hydrogen, as demonstrated recently with the opening of a public hydrogen station in Offenbach am Main in Germany in partnership with Hyundai.


Hydrogen energy

Air Liquide’s commitment

Air Liquide is firmly moving towards a gradual decarbonization of its hydrogen production dedicated to energy applications through carbon-free processes by combining:

  • biogas reforming,
  • the use of renewable energies during water electrolysis,
  • the use of the technologies for the capture and upgrading of carbon emitted during the process of producing hydrogen from natural gas.

Even when it is produced from natural gas, hydrogen is a virtuous energy: for equal distance traveled, hydrogen cars allow to reduce GHG emissions by 20% compared with internal combustion vehicles.