On 20 January 2014, a national meeting on hydrogen technologies (Rencontres Nationales des Technologies de l’Hydrogène) was organised in France under the aegis of French Minister for Economic Regeneration, Arnaud Montebourg. On this occasion, he declared his intention to position France as one of the European champions of the hydrogen sector. Having worked for many years on the emergence of the hydrogen sector, Air Liquide took part in this event.
Hydrogen energy is a central part of the "battery life and power" plan, which is one of 34 plans in the "New Industrial France" project presented by the French President in September 2013. Its aim is to position France among the European champions of hydrogen and to integrate and structure the entire sector (including fuel cells, electrolysis, storage and distribution). Thus, hydrogen is an energy carrier with an important role to play in France's energy transition, and the development of the hydrogen sector must be based on the creation of a support infrastructure (hydrogen refuelling stations).
Air Liquide is very pleased with this announcement, which represents a significant step forward in the support for the role of hydrogen energy in France's energy transition.
This approach is in line with initiatives already launched around the world and in particular in Europe in which Air Liquide is already involved. Since 2010, the Group has been a partner of the "H2 mobility" initiative, which contributes to the development of a hydrogen infrastructure in Germany and in 2012 it opened its first hydrogen station aimed at the general public, in Düsseldorf. The Group is also a partner of comparable initiatives in Great Britain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as in Japan and the USA. In France, Air Liquide is one of 25 partners in the "Hydrogen Mobility France" initiative, which aims to develop scenarios for the synchronised rolling out of Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles and filling stations.
Air Liquide masters the entire hydrogen supply chain, from production and storage to distribution and uses by the end user. Air Liquide's hydrogen stations allow to fill vehicles with gaseous hydrogen in less than five minutes. In the last decade, the Group has built more than 60 hydrogen stations in the world. Alongside the automotive industry, Air Liquide supplies hydrogen for forklift truck fleets for logistic platforms in France, Canada, and the USA, as well as for public buses.