France-based industrial gases company Air Liquide has broken ground on a new $20.15m (RMB 145m) hydrogen filling centre at the Binhai New Area SEZ in Tianjin, China.

Air Liquide signed an agreement with Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone in 2023 to build, own, and operate the hydrogen filling centre designed to support the development of a hydrogen ecosystem in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (Jingjinji) Region. 

The centre has a proposed filling capacity of eight tonnes per day and is expected to be operational by the end of 2024.

Rui Coelho, CEO of Air Liquide China, said: “Hydrogen is a key vector to accelerate the energy transition. With 60 years of expertise in the hydrogen value chain, Air Liquide is pleased to partner with the Tianjin Government to lead the hydrogen upstream deployment in the Tianjin Port Free Trade Zone. We will leverage our technological know-how and operations experience, and actively cooperate with local authorities, energy players, and fleet operators to contribute to decarbonizing mobility and creating a more sustainable future.”

A hydrogen filling centre is a conditioning unit in which gaseous hydrogen received by pipeline is compressed to transport it using tube trailer trucks to either hydrogen refueling station (HRS) or industrial customers.

Located in the Jingjinji region, the new centre is the latest addition to Air Liquide China’s portfolio. The company already operates two other hydrogen filling centres there with a total capacity of 4.2 tonnes per day to support glassmaking, optical fibre, metallurgy, and electronics customers.

Headquartered in Paris, Air Liquide SA is a multinational supplier of industrial gases present in 72 countries and employing around 67,800 workers worldwide.