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France's Air Liquide sets ambitious hydrogen, carbon abatement targets


3 GW electrolysis installed by 2030

33% cut in Scope 1, 2 emissions by 2035

Carbon capture, biomethane also in plan

Air Liquide plans to invest Eur8 billion ($9.49 billion) in low-carbon hydrogen, establishing electrolysis capacity of 3 GW by 2030, the French industrial gas company said in an updated ESG strategy March 23.

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The company has committed to cut its Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions by 33% by 2035, on the way to full carbon neutrality by 2050.

Scope 1 carbon emissions are direct emissions from company-owned and controlled resources. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy.

"To decarbonize its assets, Air Liquide will leverage on capturing CO2, accelerating low-carbon hydrogen production through electrolysis or by using renewable feedstock such as biomethane," it said.

The group would focus on increasing energy efficiency and low-carbon electricity consumption in order to reduce its indirect emissions.

It would deploy a range of sustainable solutions for its clients, including supply of low-carbon gases, provisions of industrial process and carbon capture expertise, "as well as an asset takeover strategy with an objective to decarbonize them," it said.

"This plan also includes an acceleration in hydrogen development, to at least triple its turnover in order to reach more than Eur6 billion by 2035," it said.

A 3 GW electrolysis target, even it global, is ambitious. Only 1 GW is installed across the whole of the EU today.

The EU's hydrogen strategy aims for 6 GW electrolysis by 2024, producing up to one million metric tonnes of hydrogen, so it can be assumed Air Liquide's target capacity would produce around half that amount by 2030. Total global production of conventional hydrogen sums to around 70 million metric tonnes per year.

In early February Siemens Energy and Air Liquide signed a memorandum of understanding to combine expertise in electrolysis technology.

Activities are to focus on industrial-scale hydrogen projects, mass manufacturing of electrolyzers in Europe and research to co-develop next generation electrolyzers, they said Feb. 8.

The two companies have also jointly applied for funding for a 200 MW electrolyzer at the Port Jerome-sur-Seine chemical facility.