Member news: Latest news from Air Liquide

Air Liquid inaugurates a low-carbon hydrogen production unit and promotes the development of helium refrigeration. 

  • A low-carbon hydrogen production unit

Air Liquide has completed the construction of the world’s largest PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyser. Fuelled by renewable energy, this unit is now producing up to 8.2 tonnes per day of low-carbon hydrogen in Bécancour, Quebec.  


Compared to the traditional hydrogen production process, this new production unit will avoid the emission of around 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to the emissions of 10,000 cars per year. The choice of Bécancour is based on two attributes of the site: access to abundant renewable power from Hydro-Québec and the proximity to the hydrogen mobility market in the northeast of the continent.  


What is hydrogen used for? 

Used in a fuel cell, hydrogen is combined with oxygen to produce electricity by releasing only water. Its use in electric vehicles or in areas isolated from the electricity network therefore generates no pollution: zero greenhouse gases, zero particles and zero noise. Hydrogen is also used in many industrial sectors. 


  • Promotion of helium refrigeration equipment in China

Air Liquide and Hefei Institutes of Physical Science ("HFIPS") have signed an agreement in Hefei to establish a joint venture aiming at boosting the development and manufacturing of helium refrigeration systems, supporting the evolution of major scientific research experiments ("Big Science") in China. 


Helium refrigerators are key high-tech equipment, based on the expertise in extreme cryogenics, necessary in many scientific instruments such as superconducting power equipment, superconducting accelerators, superconducting magnets, fusion devices or other scientific laboratories. Helium refrigerators produce the very low temperatures needed to provide the superconducting conditions that allow these instruments to operate.  


Within this upcoming joint venture, Air Liquide will bring its expertise in extreme cryogenics and its know-how in the design and manufacturing of helium refrigerators, while HFIPS will share its mastery of specific cryogenics applications and in-depth understanding of research needs and organizations in China.