Air Liquide’s Energy Transition Roadmap

“We are ready to take the lead”
Large Industries
18 January 2021

Air Liquide has developed a number of ambitious and far-reaching initiatives as part of the group’s energy transition roadmap. These initiatives will be applied all over the world, including the Benelux countries.

“Let me start by saying that we’re not doing this because everybody else is doing it,” explains Vianney de Buchet, Vice President Energy Transition Europe at Air Liquide. “But we want to fulfil our responsibility to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in any way we can. This is in line not only with the DNA and core values of the group, but also with our expertise in hydrogen and carbon dioxide, both of which are an integral part of the energy transition. To meet our three energy transition objectives, we developed several initiatives.

“The first – the most obvious – is to reduce CO2 emissions directly or indirectly related to our own production systems. By extension, our second aim is to help our industrial customers reduce their CO2 emissions. The third objective is about building new ecosystems that contribute to a low-carbon society.”

The CDP’s ‘A’ rating

Air Liquide has, of course, been working on reducing CO2 emissions for a long time already. Every year, the group spends around 100 million euros on initiatives to reduce its ecological footprint and those of its customers. In 2020, the group was awarded an 'A' rating by CDP (formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project), a non-profit organisation that evaluates companies based on their climate actions. CDP recognises Air Liquide’s strategy for sustainable growth, illustrated by the company’s development of hydrogen technology and by its participation in numerous innovative projects.

Reducing CO2 emissions

"The group is committed to significantly reducing its carbon footprint by 2025. To do this, we are using more and more renewable electricity and reducing our energy consumption," explains Vianney de Buchet.

"A significant part of the energy we use today is already low carbon, but we want to further increase our buy of renewable electricity. We will also take the energy mix of potential suppliers into account in our decision-making process for future partnerships.”

The company is looking to cut its own energy consumption by 5% in respect of production volume. This will be achieved by commissioning new, state-of-the-art installations, as well as by optimising the energy efficiency of existing installations.

Air Liquide is also participating in a number of innovative carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) projects, such as Porthos in Rotterdam and Antwerp@C in Antwerp. These large-scale projects have the potential to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of industrial companies. Air Liquide has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Northern Lights, a Norwegian CCS project.

In addition, Air Liquide has committed to reducing the CO2 footprint of its bulk and cylinder gas division by 10%. This will be achieved by optimising bulk transportation – using big data – and by replacing the current fleet of trucks running on fossil fuels with trucks using renewable energy.

Initiatives for customers

Vianney de Buchet: “As we’re continuing to expand our technical portfolio and expertise in the energy transition anyway, we’ve decided to make this knowledge and technology available to our industrial customers. We’re aware that the energy transition is a big challenge for the entire industry, and so we’re looking to help others achieve their goals too.”

"We want to make our technology available so that customers can also capture their CO2 emissions. The CO2 can then be reused - in horticulture or fizzy drinks, for instance - or stored safely beneath the seabed."

Building a low-carbon society

“While we’re convinced that reducing CO2 emissions is crucial, we believe that developing and successfully deploying new technologies is at least as important.”

“Because hydrogen will play a key role in tomorrow’s society and in the energy transition, we’re putting a lot of people and resources into optimising this technology. Hydrogen will have a tremendous impact on the transportation sector – not just cars, but trucks and ships too – and it will also be used more and more as an energy source for industry. In fact, Air Liquide recently announced it is launching a project to deploy 1,000 hydrogen-powered trucks in the port of Rotterdam.”

Air Liquide is also investing in installations for biomethane purification. A sustainable gas from fermenting organic waste, biomethane has the same properties as natural gas but must be purified before it can be injected into the natural gas grid. By 2025, plant capacity should increase to 5 TWh per year.

“So, it’s clear that Air Liquide is making great efforts to manage the energy transition,” concludes Vianney de Buchet. “Of course, we expect to face additional challenges and obstacles - it would be strange if this were not the case - but we are determined to achieve our objectives and to take the lead in our industry”