The European Commission authorised the €67.6m funding granted at the end of 2007 by OSEO (French agency for innovation support) for the Horizon Hydrogen Energy (H2E) innovation programme on 8th October, a scheme coordinated by the Air Liquide Group.

Hydrogen, used as an energy carrier, is seen as one of the solutions to meet the challenge of a greener, environmentally energy future, a solution which the project aims to research and develop further.

The H2E programme, which represents an overall investment in research and technology of almost €200m over seven years, aims at building sustainable and competitive hydrogen-energy solutions. The research and development will cover the full hydrogen energy value chain.

In particular, it will investigate the development of innovative technologies for hydrogen production using renewable energy, hydrogen storage and industrialisation of fuel cells. H2E will also contribute to the setting up of a suitable regulatory framework.

Such an ambitious programme brings together around twenty Air Liquide partners in the field of hydrogen energy: industrial groups, small and medium-sized companies and French public research laboratories. The project is also seen as a unique opportunity to place France and Europe at the leading edge of this key sector.

François Darchis, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee, in charge of Advanced Technologies, declared, “For more than 40 years, Air Liquide has developed unique know-how along the whole hydrogen chain.”

“The H2E program will enable the group to confirm its position as a major player in the development of hydrogen-energy, and to be ready for the emergence of hydrogen in transport by 2015. Air Liquide believes that it is its responsibility as the world leader to open new markets and introduce scientific and technological innovation into society.”

For more information about hydrogen, Air Liquide has opened a special website totally dedicated to hydrogen and its use in a variety of sustainable energy applications.

Readers are encouraged to visit the site at www.planete-hydrogene.com.