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Taking action
for the climate

The climate and energy transition will not succeed without a profound transformation of industries and consumption habits. At Air Liquide, we serve customers from a wide range of industrial markets. For many years, we have been committed to combining growth and respect for the environment, including by developing innovative technologies. Two years ago, we went one step further by setting the most ambitious Climate objectives in our sector to reinvent sustainable industrial solutions with our customers and partners, thus contributing to the development of a low-carbon society.

The climate at the heart of Air Liquide’s strategy

Global warming is a critical concern from a social and economical point of view. We have reached a turning point in ensuring a successful energy transition. At a time when policymakers, companies and investors across the world are working on the economic recovery, an opportunity has emerged to really make a difference and to focus on the ideal growth models that we envision for the future. 

At Air Liquide, we have committed for some time to limiting our own environmental footprint and that of our customers. We draw on our capacity for innovation to invent more sustainable solutions. We are therefore taking ambitious action to reduce the carbon intensity of our activities by 30% by 2025(1), notably through the signature of long-term renewable electricity purchase agreements to power our production sites, such as in Texas and more recently in Spain, and by improving the energy efficiency of our plants. At the same time, we have stepped up innovative initiatives to support the industry in switching to cleaner solutions. In South Africa, the Group is currently completing the acquisition of the largest oxygen production site in the world, with the aim of reducing its CO2 emissions by 30 to 40% by 2030. In the steel industry, we are working on a project with ArcelorMittal in Belgium to capture carbon emissions from steel production and recycle them into bioethanol. Another example, in the maritime industry, is our Turbo-Brayton solution which reliquefies natural gas evaporations from tankers and thus limits the emissions of this greenhouse gas. 

€100 M allocated each year to reducing the CO2 emissions of our products and those of our customers

We strive to focus on useful and responsible innovation in every aspect of our business. Innovation opens up new possibilities to drive a low-carbon society as well as new markets for future growth. 

Testimonial
David Meneses

Vice President sustainability at Air Liquide

“To act efficiently, we need to bring together all energies”

“Our Group has set ambitious Climate objectives. These objectives are part of a global approach. Not only are we taking action to reduce our own carbon footprint, but we are also supporting our customers in the same approach, while contributing more generally to the creation of a low-carbon society.

Our expertise and our strong capacity for innovation are our greatest strengths to help achieve these objectives. Our employees, who contribute daily to our low-carbon ambitions, play a key role in their deployment. To monitor our progress and share best practices, we have built an internal network which, in each entity, is led by Climate Champions and Climate Ambassadors. The former are responsible for implementing Climate objectives. The latter are employees, all of whom have volunteered for this role, responsible for overseeing environmental initiatives* on a local scale.

We also rely on our stakeholders to accelerate the energy transition. In collaboration with our customers, we are co-building solutions to make industry more efficient and responsible. Moreover, we are stepping up international and local partnerships to develop new markets in which we are particularly involved, such as biomethane and hydrogen energy. We firmly believe that these collective efforts will help us make the greatest strides to develop a low-carbon society.”

*Waste disposal, solar panel installation, planting trees, etc.

Hydrogen, an essential solution for the energy transition 

The development of hydrogen energy is one of these possibilities. Over the past 50 years, Air Liquide h a s developed unique know-how in the management of the entire hydrogen value chain (production, storage, distribution and development of new uses). The Group firmly believes that this molecule is a key lever in the drive to decarbonize industrial activities that are still dependent on fossil fuels. Its main advantage: it generates zero pollution during its use. It can be produced using renewable energy sources, stored long term and then be re-transformed into electricity, thus compensating for the intermittent nature of these same energy sources. 

Scaling up the use of hydrogen as a clean energy vector is therefore one of the priorities set by Air Liquide. This ambition is shared by public authorities, as the recent recovery plans of different countries show, or the creation by the European Commission of a clean hydrogen alliance(2) in July 2020. All draw the same conclusion: major investment is required in this energy in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050(3)

Cars, buses, trains, ferries and even planes — hydrogen energy is one of the solutions for clean mobility and Air Liquide continues to invest in this field. In addition to the roll-out of stations for light vehicles, in particular in Europe, Japan, South Korea and California, Air Liquide is also focused on the heavy vehicle segment. In France, for example, the Group plans to build the first high-pressure hydrogen refueling station in Europe, in Fos-sur-Mer, which will fuel long-distance trucks as of 2022. Moreover, in July, the Group announced the launch of a partnership with the Port of Rotterdam to support the roll-out of hydrogen-powered trucks. 

100% of hydrogen produced by Air Liquide for the mobility market will be low-carbon by 2030

Hydrogen also has a role to play in the development of a low-carbon industry. This molecule, which has already been used for many years, is now being used in new virtuous methods such as in the steel industry. At the thyssenkrupp facility in Duisburg, Germany, hydrogen provided by Air Liquide partly replaces coal used in the blast furnaces. This results in a reduction in CO2 emissions from the steel production process of up to 20%. 

The Group is also actively involved in several major clean mobility projects alongside other industrial players and international institutions. This global mobilization is required to promote the emergence of a global hydrogen economy and to meet the energy transition challenge. 

Testimonial
Pierre-Étienne Franc

Vice President of the hydrogen energy world business Line at Air Liquide

“We have reached the dawn of a systemic change, in which hydrogen will play a key role”

“Our Group has set ambitious Climate objectives. These objectives are part of a global approach. Not only are we taking action to reduce our own carbon footprint, but we are also supporting our customers in the same approach, while contributing more generally to the creation of a low-carbon society.

Our expertise and our strong capacity for innovation are our greatest strengths to help achieve these objectives. Our employees, who contribute daily to our low-carbon ambitions, play a key role in their deployment. To monitor our progress and share best practices, we have built an internal network which, in each entity, is led by Climate Champions and Climate Ambassadors. The former are responsible for implementing Climate objectives. The latter are employees, all of whom have volunteered for this role, responsible for overseeing environmental initiatives* on a local scale.

We also rely on our stakeholders to accelerate the energy transition. In collaboration with our customers, we are co-building solutions to make industry more efficient and responsible. Moreover, we are stepping up international and local partnerships to develop new markets in which we are particularly involved, such as biomethane and hydrogen energy. We firmly believe that these collective efforts will help us make the greatest strides to develop a low-carbon society.”

*McKinsey report for the Hydrogen Council -Path to hydrogen competitiveness, a cost perspective -2020.

(1) Based on 2015 emission levels
(2) European Clean Hydrogen Alliance 
(3) Objective stated by the European Commission in November 2018 in its “A clean planet for all” strategy

Article published on October 20, 2020