Air Liquide is to deliver the largest cryogenic system in the world to CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) who are building the most powerful particle accelerator in the world.

Having installed and tested the last elements of the large hadron collider (LHC) at the end October 2006, Air Liquide has transferred ownership of the entire LHC liquid helium supply system to CERN, completing a 22 month work programme.

The cryogenic distribution system for over 800,000 litres of helium takes the form of a ring with a circumference of 27km, placed in a tunnel approximately 100m underground. This cryogenic system supplies superfluid helium at a temperature of 1.9K (-271°C) to the 1,700 superconducting magnets of the LHC particle accelerator.

Air Liquide has supplied most of the distribution systems, in addition to the gases liquid helium, liquid argon, and nitrogen.

François Jackow, Air Liquide, said: "Our expertise in the field of extreme gases, unique in the world, will enable us to prepare our contribution to projects of the future demanding total mastery of cryogenics, such as the ITER project and superconductivity projects for power transmission."