Air Liquide's early involvement in supplying the solar photovoltaic industry has helped the company establish leadership in the photovoltaic market, supplying gases,
equipment and services to 8 of the top 10 leaders and more than 150 customers
worldwide. Today, Air Liquide takes another step forward, investing in a
photovoltaic cell manufacturing line for R&D purposes.
This investment, which consists of a crystalline solar cell manufacturing and
characterization line, will allow Air Liquide to fully develop and assess new ideas
and concepts designed to improve the performance and reduce the manufacturing
costs of crystalline solar cells, and thereby helping to bring solar energy closer to grid parity.
Crystalline silicon remains the dominant technology among the various
photovoltaic cell technologies, representing 85% of worldwide production in terms
of power output. Even though it is the most mature technology, crystalline siliconbased
solar panels have recently made outstanding progress in energy conversion
efficiency, and show strong potential for further improvement.
Air Liquide recently acquired the Silexium(TM) coating technology and
associated IP from Sixtron, a Canadian company. The objective is to further
develop this technology, leveraging the relationship Air Liquide has already
established with its customers through joint development programs. The new pilot
line will allow Air Liquide to fully demonstrate and optimize new materials and
processes adapted to each customer's needs. The pilot line will be located in Air
Liquide's Corporate R&D center near Saclay, west of Paris, France, and will be
run by a pool of scientists experienced in PV technologies.
Francisco Martins, Vice-President World Business Line Electronics of the
Air Liquide Group, declared: "The acquisition of the Silexium(TM) technology and
the investment in an R&D pilot line demonstrate Air Liquide's commitment to
the continued development of new supply solutions for the PV market and its
support for the development of clean energies. The photovoltaic business is
at the crossroads of Energy and the Environment, and requires High-Tech
solutions, three growth drivers for the Air Liquide Group."
Air Liquide is the world leader in gases for industry, health and the environment, and is present in 80 countries with 43,600 employees. Oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and rare gases have been at the core of Air Liquide's activities since its creation in 1902. Using these molecules, Air Liquide continuously reinvents its business, anticipating the needs of current and future markets. The Group innovates to enable progress, to achieve dynamic growth and a consistent performance.
Innovative technologies that curb polluting emissions, lower industry's energy use, recover and reuse natural resources or develop the energies of tomorrow, such as hydrogen, biofuels or photovoltaic energy... Oxygen for hospitals, homecare, fighting nosocomial infections... Air Liquide combines many products and technologies to develop valuable applications and services not only for its customers but also for society.
A partner for the long term, Air Liquide relies on employee commitment, customer trust and shareholder support to pursue its vision of sustainable, competitive growth. The diversity of Air Liquide's teams, businesses, markets and geographic presence provides a solid and sustainable base for its development and strengthens its ability to push back its own limits, conquer new territories and build its future.
Air Liquide explores the best that air can offer to preserve life, staying true to its sustainable development approach. In 2010, the Group's revenues amounted to Euros13.5 billion, of which more than 80% were generated outside France. Air Liquide is listed on the Paris Euronext stock exchange (compartment A) and is amember of the CAC 40 and Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 indexes.