In a world first, Air Liquide has commissioned a large helium (He) storage facility in North Western Germany, enabling the French business to “better answer its customers’ needs for a reliable and predictable He supply.”

The commissioning of the storage site in Gronau-Epe of the North Rhine-Westphalia region, ensures independent reliability of He production sources, optimum transport lead-time and an all-round secure He supply from the Tier One corporation.

Under the new commissioning, significant volumes of pure He is stored 1,300m underground in a salt reservoir managed by Air Liquide, which will use natural brine to adjust the storage volume inside the cavern.

The cavity can hold all the He resources that Air Liquide requires for one year.

The industrial gas corporation, which became the worldwide He market leader after its Airgas takeover in May, owns the right to use the cavity and operates the facility.

François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and member of the Air Liquide Group Executive Committee, supervising Innovation, said, “By leveraging its high technologies and its engineering capabilities, Air Liquide is providing its customers with a unique reliable He supply chain, which takes into account their new usages.”

“This initiative is an illustration of the Group’s pioneering spirit and is fully part of our customer-centric transformation strategy.”

This development further augments Air Liquide’s He offer as its logistics platform currently encompasses one of the largest He ISO container fleets.