We spend 60 seconds with Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman, President and CEO at Air Products

 

Why is your company part of the Hydrogen Council? Why do you believe this initiative is so important?

Air Products is honored to be part of this exceptional forum of multinational companies working to further advance hydrogen technologies. We bring our experience both as the leading supplier of hydrogen to refineries for producing cleaner burning transportation fuels, and as a hydrogen fueling pioneer, with more than 250 fueling projects in over 20 countries. We deployed our first hydrogen fueling station 25 years ago and have built a portfolio of over 50 hydrogen supply and dispensing technology patents.

The Hydrogen Council—bringing together companies, governments and investors—is working to continually enhance public awareness of and support for hydrogen technology development. Those efforts can benefit everyone.

 

Which hydrogen project run by your company are you most proud of?

I am very proud of the entire body of work and commitment that Air Products has made as the world’s leading supplier of hydrogen to refineries and as a hydrogen fueling pioneer. Our application experience includes material handling, unmanned aerial and underwater vehicles, trains, cell towers, buses, class 7/8 trucks, submarines and ferries. In addition, we have developed and provided station technology into the retail fueling forecourts in Europe, China, Japan and the United States. We pioneered many of these applications, including the first dual fuel retail station.

Piggybacking on our NASA space shuttle experience, Air Products is responsible for introducing a series of advances in this market, including high pressure composite delivery trailers, dual phase liquid hydrogen trailers, cryogenic two-phase compression, small onsite steam methane reformers, and tri-generation from a molten carbonate fuel cell power plant, among many others.

We have worked hand-in-hand with OEMs to develop the fueling protocols and the standards widely in use today, with experience eclipsing over seven million safe hydrogen fills.

 

What, in your opinion, is one of the biggest challenges facing Hydrogen technology right now? How does your organization intend to deal with this challenge?

Infrastructure continues to be a challenge in developing the hydrogen energy economy across different end markets. We have seen good progress, particularly where demonstration programs have focused the parties for success. Air Products, for its part, is working to optimize the supply chain through unique enabling forecourt equipment solutions and distribution assets specific to fueling infrastructure where the traditional supply chain would not suffice. These include high pressure tube trailers, dual phase liquid hydrogen trailers and novel liquid and gaseous compression. Critically, the integration of the entire supply chain through proprietary software is key to a reliable and efficient dispensing system.

Ideally, pipeline hydrogen supply infrastructure similar to natural gas is the preferred, lowest delivered cost method for vehicle fueling stations in a hydrogen economy. But how will the market transition to that or at what rate? In the future, multiple production hydrogen plant sources and feedstocks will supply this demand. For sure, new sources of product supply, including renewable hydrogen, will need to be secured. We can see the end game; we need to judiciously transition to that end game. We have been able to demonstrate the potential at a pipeline-supplied hydrogen fueling station in California, and we have extensive pipeline experience with numerous supply and demand points in our 600-mile hydrogen pipeline network in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

 

If you could communicate one hydrogen-related message to the general public, what would it be?

In many ways, hydrogen is the perfect fuel. It is abundant, the most efficient and produces no emissions when used in a fuel cell. And it is a sustainable long-term source of energy produced from numerous feedstocks promoting localized energy independence. At Air Products, we are striving to support the commercialization of this environmentally-friendly fuel for our planet and look forward to future projects and opportunities.