Petra Pechoval, General Manager of Air Liquide Advanced Technologies (China), shakes hands with Song Yuntao, Vice President of HFIPS. [IMAGE: HFIPS]

A joint venture intending to independently develop, manufacture and sell integrated and cost-competitive helium cryogenic systems and offer related services was set up on Science Island, Hefei, East China’s Anhui Province, on January 8 by the Hefei Institutes of Physical science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Air Liquide Advanced Technologies (ALAT).

According to the contract HFIPS and ALAT agreed to collaborate on technology research, technology transfer, technology consulting and technical services in the field of new energy, as well as construction of helium cryogenic plants and sales of ancillary equipment.

The efforts can be traced back three years to when the Institute of Plasma Physics (ASIPP) of HFIPS, encouraged by the French Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA), started talks with ALAT on cryogenics and magnetism in fusion.

“These two pillars of world scientists and technology could only eventually meet each other,” said Alain Becoulet, head of the ITER engineering domain who joined the signing ceremony online as a long-term ASIPP partner. “The new joint venture will surely be a win-win for both ASIPP and Air Liquid.”

The joint venture is not only a product of long-lived “deep and diverse cooperation between the two countries”, but also a reflection that “science and technology cooperation can boost economic growth”, according to Song Yuntao, Vice President of HFIPS.

A cryogenic-based joint venture was set up on Science Island, Hefei, Anhui Province. [IMAGE: HFIPS]

“We are delighted to cooperate with the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science to promote the localized production and application of helium refrigeration systems and jointly contribute to the evolution of Big Science,” said Nicolas Poirot, President and CEO of Air Liquide China. “Air Liquide will continue to integrate global resources and technologies, strengthen exchanges and cooperation with local enterprises and research institutions, and actively participate in the open innovation and economic and social development of Anhui Province and Hefei.”

Established in 1994, the Cryogenic Technical Division of HFIPS is based on the Cryogenic Team of the Technique Centre and is mainly responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the 2kW@4.5K large-scale helium cryogenic system for EAST (Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak). It focuses on cryogenic engineering and technology and is now undertaking the design and construction of the cryogenic system for the Comprehensive Research Facility for Fusion Technology (CRAFT).

Technologies and services for industry and health involving oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen embody the scientific territory of ALAT, a world leader in gases, and have been at the core of the company’s activities since its creation in 1902. Over the past decades ALAT has strengthened its expertise in extreme cryogenics.


Source: Hefei Institutes of Physical science,

Chinese Academy of Sciences

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