Bloomberg News

Air Liquide’s Potier Says Car Fuel Cells to Boost Hydrogen Sales

October 04, 2011

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Air Liquide SA Chief Executive Officer Benoit Potier said demand for hydrogen used in fuel cells will probably rise as carmakers such as Daimler AG and Toyota Motor Corp. introduce models powered by the technology.

A global automotive market share of 1 percent for fuel- cell-powered cars would represent 15 billion euros ($19.8 billion) in sales for the industrial-gas industry, Potier told journalists today near Paris.

“Daimler, Opel, Toyota and Honda have announced launches on the market around 2015,” Potier said. “The U.S., Canada, Japan, South Korea and China have started refueling-station infrastructure programs, and Germany has taken a very strong lead in Europe.”

Air Liquide, the world’s biggest producer of industrial gases, generated 1.4 billion euros in hydrogen sales in 2010, mostly to oil refiners and chemicals producers, Potier said. Of that amount, only “a few million euros” came from hydrogen sales to users of fuel cells to power forklift trucks, buses and remote mobile-phone antennas.

Cars powered by fuel cells, which produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, will become more attractive because the vehicles can travel more than 500 kilometers (310 miles) between refuelings, which take three minutes, compared with several hours to recharge battery-powered cars with shorter ranges, he said.

--Editors: Tom Lavell, David Risser

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net


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