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Hydrogen

Vector of clean energy

Hydrogen is a clean, sustainable energy vector. It is also an effective means of storing energy. As an energy solution, hydrogen shows high potential and offers many advantages—from its low environmental impact to its durable nature.

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Energy context

Today, fossil energies represent more than 80% of the world’s total energy consumption, with transportation 92% dependent on oil. While reserves are decreasing, global demand is steadily rising due to the emergence of the developing economies. These resources are also geographically concentrated: more than half of the world’s crude oil reserves are located in the Middle East, while a third of the world’s coal is in the United States and a quarter of its natural gas reserves are in Russia.

In the light of these facts, one of the biggest challenges facing society today is to ensure that everyone has access to the energy he or she needs while also respecting and preserving the natural environment. Hydrogen is one of the solutions to this major problem.

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DID YOU KNOW ?

The average temperature of the Earth is set to increase by between 2 and 6°C over the course of the 21st century.

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that the average increase in temperature on Earth over the course of the 21st century will be between 2 and 6°C if no specific actions are taken to reduce the emission of CO2.

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Hydrogen energy

By using hydrogen, we can diversify the energy mix at our disposal and overcome our dependency on fossil resources whose reserves are finite and geographically concentrated. Used in fuel cells, hydrogen produces clean and quiet energy whose only by-product is water.

The automobile is clearly one of the most promising potential fields of application for hydrogen energy. Hydrogen is the fuel of choice for propelling cars equipped with an electric engine and that produce their own electricity onboard.

By leveraging its unique expertise and its mastery of the entire hydrogen chain for industrial applications, Air Liquide has taken up the challenge of developing hydrogen as a vector of clean energy.

Vector of clean energy

Hydrogen can be produced from many sources that are available in large quantities on planet Earth: water and electricity, biomass, biogas, natural gas, etc. Among these, several are independent of fossil energies, making hydrogen a sustainable energy vector.

Combined with a fuel cell, hydrogen is an energy vector that does not release any CO2 locally. It releases only water. Fuel cell electric vehicles produce 20% less greenhouse gas than combustion engine vehicles when the hydrogen used is made from natural gas. Hydrogen is thus a vector of clean energy that respects the environment.

An ultra-light gas, hydrogen concentrates an enormous amount of energy for a given mass: 1 kg of hydrogen contains three times more energy than 1 kg of gasoline.

Hydrogen
120 MJ/kg

Methane
50 MJ/kg

Gasoline
43 MJ/kg

Hydrogen can be stored in various forms, for example as a gas under high pressure. Filling hydrogen tanks or changing them out is a rapid and easy process. Hydrogen and the fuel cell combine to ensure substantial autonomy, and vehicles equipped with them can be recharged in just a short period of time. This makes hydrogen en effective solution for energy storage that represents an alternative to storage by battery.

 

© Air Liquide - Joseph Melin