Air Liquide (Paris:AI) has completed the construction of the world’s largest PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer. Supplied with renewable energy, this unit is now producing up to 8.2 tonnes per day of low-carbon hydrogen in Bécancour, Québec.
With this large-scale investment, the Group confirms its long-term commitment to the hydrogen energy markets and its ambition to be a major player in the supply of low-carbon hydrogen.
The new 20 MW PEM electrolyser, equipped with Cummins1 technology, is the largest operating unit of its kind in the world and will help meet the growing demand for low-carbon hydrogen in North America. Bécancour’s proximity to the main industrial markets in Canada and the United States will help ensure their supply of low-carbon hydrogen for industrial use and mobility. The commissioning of this electrolysis unit increases by 50% the capacity of Air Liquide’s Bécancour hydrogen production complex.
Compared to the traditional hydrogen production process, this new production unit will avoid the emission of around 27,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of 10,000 cars per year. The choice of Bécancour is based on two attributes of the site: the access to abundant renewable power from Hydro-Québec and the proximity to the hydrogen mobility market in the northeast of the continent.
Susan Ellerbusch, CEO, Air Liquide North America and Group Executive Committee Member: “The fight against climate change is at the heart of the Air Liquide Group’s strategy. The inauguration of the Bécancour site in Canada marks an important step in the implementation of this strategy. With this world’s first, Air Liquide confirms its commitment to the production of low-carbon hydrogen on an industrial scale and its ability to effectively deploy the related technological solutions. Hydrogen will play a key role in the energy transition and the emergence of a low-carbon society.”
Air Liquide’s commitment to hydrogen energy
In the past 50 years, Air Liquide has developed unique expertise enabling it to master the entire hydrogen supply chain, from production and storage to distribution and the development of applications for end users, thus contributing to the widespread use of hydrogen as a clean energy source, for mobility in particular. Air Liquide has designed and installed more than 120 stations around the world to date. Hydrogen is an alternative to meet the challenge of clean transportation and thus contributes to the improvement of air quality. Used in a fuel cell, hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air to produce electricity, emitting only water. It does not generate any pollution at the point of use: zero greenhouse gases, zero particles and zero noise. Hydrogen provides a concrete response to the challenges posed by sustainable mobility and local pollution in urban areas..
About Air Liquide in Canada
Air Liquide started its activity in Canada in 1911 and now has a team of more than 2,500 employees working to serve more than 200,000 customers and patients across Canada. In all of the country’s key industrial regions from coast to coast, Air Liquide offers innovative solutions — gas, equipment and services — in a wide variety of sectors: aeronautics, automotive, agri-food industries, chemical, metallurgy, metal fabrication, mining, oil and gas and healthcare.
A world leader in gases, technologies and services for Industry and Health, Air Liquide is present in 80 countries with approximately 67,000 employees and serves more than 3.7 million customers and patients. Oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen are essential small molecules for life, matter and energy. They embody Air Liquide’s scientific territory and have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902.
Air Liquide’s ambition is to be a leader in its industry, deliver long term performance and contribute to sustainability. The company’s customer-centric transformation strategy aims at profitable, regular and responsible growth over the long term. It relies on operational excellence, selective investments, open innovation and a network organization implemented by the Group worldwide. Through the commitment and inventiveness of its people, Air Liquide leverages energy and environment transition, changes in healthcare and digitization, and delivers greater value to all its stakeholders.
Air Liquide’s revenue amounted to 22 billion euros in 2019 and its solutions that protect life and the environment represented more than 40% of sales. Air Liquide is listed on the Euronext Paris stock exchange (compartment A) and belongs to the CAC 40, EURO STOXX 50 and FTSE4Good indexes.
1 After the acquisition of Hydrogenics by CUMMINS, Air Liquide (through its wholly owned subsidiary: The Hydrogen Company) has increased its ownership stake to 19%