Jean-Louis Étienne’s technological partner

October 5, 2009

In April 2010, the French physician and explorer Jean-Louis Étienne will carry out a new expedition: an Arctic adventure in which Air Liquide is the technological partner.

After having reached the North Pole by pulling, solo, his sled for 63 days (1986), drifting for four months on the pack ice onboard the Polar Observer (2002), this tireless defender of the planet decided to undertake the solo crossing of the North Pole in a balloon.

The crossing will be made in a Rozière, a helium/hot-air hybrid balloon comprised of an envelope 25 meters high and 16 meters in diameter, filled with 2,200 m³ of helium.

The expedition will have two goals: the first is scientific with the continuous measurement of atmospheric CO2 and the observation of the state of the ice. The second is more pedagogic: informing the public and schoolchildren about the ice pack situation, the life of the indigenous peoples, Arctic biodiversity, climate change and the energies of the future.

Air Liquide, the technological partner, will supply the helium to fill the balloon, as well as the oxygen that will permit the explorer to breathe normally while he is at high altitude.

This partnership is a long-term one as Air Liquide supported Jean-Louis Étienne in his last three expeditions. In 2002, during the Ice Pack Mission, then the Clipperton expedition in 2004, for which the Group supplied, each time, the fuel cell and hydrogen to produce clean electricity. In 2007, the Group furnished the helium for the Pole Airship expedition.

This support for Jean-Louis Étienne’s new expedition once again shows the Group’s commitment in sustainable development and the preservation of life and the environment.

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