Innovation Culture

Hydrogen: an essential element 09-14-2020 |  4 minutes


ArianeGroup has exceptional expertise in liquid hydrogen-based propulsion systems, thanks to over 40 years of Ariane. Key know-how to drive ecological transition.


Renewable liquid hydrogen could offer a solution in the quest for greener energy. This expertise could also provide answers to the specific storage and endurance requirements in sectors such as aeronautics and rail or maritime transport.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the entire universe, found everywhere from the core of every star to the atmospheres of gas giants like Jupiter.

On Earth, it is a component of water and living matter – your body is 10% hydrogen!

In industry, hydrogen can be produced through the electrolysis of water (separating the hydrogen and oxygen atoms) and then stored and converted back into electricity. Hydrogen is used in a range of industrial applications, notably in textile manufacturing, metallurgy, glassmaking, and electronics.

It also offers a clean energy source for electric vehicles, as well as for houses and other buildings that are off the grid.

The aerospace sector uses hydrogen as a fuel for its highly energetic properties, with the combustion of one kilo of hydrogen releasing about three times as much energy as a kilo of gasoline, leaving behind only water.

As prime contractor for the Ariane rockets for over 40 years, ArianeGroup has almost unique expertise in propulsion systems using liquid hydrogen and the necessary support infrastructures. All Ariane rockets, past and present, used/use liquid hydrogen engines. The new Prometheus® engine will also be able to run on liquid hydrogen.

More than a thousand ArianeGroup specialists in France and Germany are working on these technologies every day. In fact, Europe’s largest hydrogen test center is at ArianeGroup’s Vernon site in France.

ArianeGroup is now looking to make this extremely rare expertise available for the benefit of European, national (e.g. German and French), and regional hydrogen projects.