London UK

Didcot Based Industrial Gas Team Supplies Helium for Channel 4 Speed Challenge

Staff at the Didcot factory of global industrial gases company, Air Products, have been involved in an adrenaline pumping speed challenge alongside one of the UK’s most popular motorcycle racers, in a new TV programme.

The Air Products team worked alongside professional motorcycle racer and mechanic Guy Martin, as part of Channel 4’s latest series of Speed with Guy Martin. The programmes see Guy undertake a number of speed based challenges, exploring the boundaries of physics and learning about the science of speed.

Didcot Based Industrial Gas Team Supplies Helium for Channel 4 Speed ChallengeAiring on Sunday 25 September, the latest episode features Guy’s attempts to become the first person to cross the English Channel in a human-powered airship, pedalling a bike suspended from a large helium-filled balloon. Air Products supplied the helium used in the airship for the attempt to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

Louis-Florent Daspre, Plant Manager at Didcot, appeared in the filming, which captured the helium production process and gas bottling at the plant, located at Harrier Park in Hawksworth. Air Products supplied helium for the three practice attempts and final channel crossing attempt from its 300 bar multiple cylinder pack offering.

Tim Hulbert, Air Products’ Vice President – UK and Ireland (Industrial Gases), commented: “We were delighted to be involved in such an exciting project and to ensure the safe supply of helium for this fantastic challenge.

“Safety was a key priority for us throughout the challenge, particularly as Guy would be travelling across the busy English Channel. As the airship is as big as a bus, we needed to supply enough helium that would enable Guy to practice over several days and also for the attempt itself. The correct amount of helium varied for a number of reasons to create the ideal lift, including the effect of the different temperatures and what Guy was wearing. Our experts worked closely with the TV production team to supply the gas volumes required to safely lift the airship off the ground, and enable Guy to pedal forwards and hover without going up or down, demonstrating our expertise in supplying large quantities of gas for such a particularly unique challenge.”

Guy Martin added: “The Air Products boys were spot on. All cracking folk. I didn’t realise what absolute zero was and what that means to gas, and the way it’s transported in liquid form. Fascinating and thanks very much for the support.”

Air Products employs more than 2,500 staff across 70 sites in the UK and supplies industrial gases for use across multiple industries, including health, food and drink, transport, metals fabrication, metals processing, energy, pharmaceutical, speciality chemical, life sciences and semiconductors.

This episode will be aired on Sunday 25 September on Channel 4 between 7.30pm and 9pm.

For more information about Air Products, please visit

For more information about Speed with Guy Martin, please visit