Air Liquide to Spend $9.5B on Low-Carbon Hydrogen

Air Liquide SA, the world’s second-largest maker of industrial gases, plans to invest about 8 billion euros (USD $9.5 billion) in low-carbon hydrogen by 2035 as part of a plan to more than triple sales of the fuel to help clients curb emissions.

While producing clean hydrogen with electrolyzers is currently costlier than using fossil fuels, France and other European nations have pledged billions in subsidies over the next decade to reduce production costs in line with policies for the continent to become carbon-neutral by 2050.

Proponents of green hydrogen say the move will be key to decarbonizing industrial processes, such as refining and steelmaking, and is more suitable than using batteries to power heavy trucks, trains, boats and even airplanes. By tapping these markets, Air Liquide aims to at least triple its hydrogen revenue to more than 6 billion euros in 2035.

“Most manufacturers, if not all, are worried about their CO2 emissions, and are looking for solutions,” Air Liquide Chief Executive Officer Benoit Potier said Tuesday during a press conference. The company will cut emissions from its own operations by a third by 2035, and plans to be carbon neutral by 2050, he added.

Air Liquide aims to build or start construction of 3 gigawatts of electrolyzers by 2035 to produce carbon-free hydrogen with water and renewable power. It recently completed construction of the world’s largest “proton exchange membrane” electrolyzer in Canada, which requires 20 megawatts of power.

The company will also invest in supply chains to deliver hydrogen that can be transformed into clean electricity for transport, and in plants that capture carbon at production sites for the fuel.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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