Open New Grounds, Thanks to Science

oxygen periodic table

Essential Small Molecules such as O2, N2, H2 and CO2 embody Air Liquide’s scientific territory. These molecules have an extremely wide variety of physical and chemical properties which make them essential to life, matter and energy.

Reinforcing its focus on science for accelerating innovation, Air Liquide launched its first Scientific Challenge in 2016.

Why this challenge?

The objectives of the first Air Liquide Scientific Challenge were three-fold:

  • Build a vibrant ecosystem with high level scientific partners
  • Innovate for developing sustainable technologies
  • Practice new ways of working through Collective Intelligence and networks

The Challenge drew people from various departments during the design phase (legal, marketing, communication, management, R&D projects).

A prestigious Jury panel included among other members Professor Jean-Marie Lehn (Nobel Prize of Chemistry 1987).

Three topics fit for the Challenge were eventually selected from quite a pool of subject matters proposed by internal experts across the company.

  • How to produce hydrogen out of water using solar energy?
  • How to identify sponge materials for high density storage and safe supply of gases?
  • How to produce oxygen and carbon monoxide from CO2in a sustainable way?


Over 100 proposals were submitted, most of them considered to be of a high level of quality.

After shortlisting a range of them, the Jury distinguished three winners, whose proposals were considered to be completely novel and promising approaches: one research team for EPFL in Lausanne (Switzerland), one research team from Nagoya University (Japan) and one research team from Université Paris-Diderot / CNRS in Paris (France).

The quality of other proposals led Air Liquide to use them for other projects. Air Liquide’s network of new potential partners has also grown.

Air Liquide launched with NineSigma its second Scientific Challenge, which closed early September 2018. Winners are to be announced in the Spring of 2019.


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