Air Liquide and Chinese startup STNE (Shanghai Sinotran New Energy Automobile Operation) have signed a partnership to accelerate the rollout of hydrogen (H2)-powered electric truck fleets in China.

This agreement fits in with the Chinese government’s 13th five-year plan, which aims notably to support the development and sale of H2-powered electric vehicles serving clean mobility.

Through this partnership, Air Liquide acquires a minority stake of around €10m in STNE, a H2 logistics platform designed for urban deliveries of goods, which currently operates a H2 station in Shanghai and a fleet of 500 H2-powered trucks.

As part of this agreement, the Tier One corporation will provide STNE with its expertise in the entire H2 supply chain, from production and storage to distribution, to accelerate the startup’s development. STNE aims to run a fleet of up to 7,500 trucks and to operate a network of around 25 H2 stations by 2020.

H2 is an alternative that addresses the challenges of clean transportation, thus contributing to improving air quality. Used in a fuel cell, H2 combines with the O2 in the air to produce electricity, with water as the only byproduct. It does not generate any pollution at its point of use: zero greenhouse gases, zero particles and zero noise. H2 brings a concrete response to the challenge of sustainable mobility and local pollution in urban areas, especially for logistics. Indeed, it takes less than seven minutes to recharge H2-powered trucks, for a driving range of around 400 kilometers.

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee supervising Innovation, said, “We are delighted with this partnership with the startup STNE, thus contributing to the development of H2 solutions in China. This investment combined with Air Liquide’s industrial and technological expertise in the field of H2 energy, enables the Group to contribute to accelerating the rollout of concrete solutions for the energy transition in China.”