Hydrogen a Key Technology for Fulfilling Net-Zero Goals
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Hydrogen a Key Technology for Fulfilling Net-Zero Goals

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Raphael De Montfort - Air Liquide
Managing Director Mexico, Trinidad & Tobago and Dominican Republic

STORY INLINE POST

Q: How did Air Liquide start operations in Mexico?

A: Air Liquide is the world leader in the production of industrial gases. We are present in 80 countries. We started operations in Mexico in 2011 with the largest oxygen production unit in the country, equivalent to a capacity of 1,500t/d. Since then, we have also consolidated our position as the country’s main producer of argon.

We have achieved strong business growth in Mexico owing to our focus on customer satisfaction and the commitment of our employees. The company's goal is to continue growing here, which is why we have made investments totaling US$300 million in the Mexican market. Air Liquide aims to provide competitive solutions to its customers, both in the short and long term, intending to efficiently reduce their emissions of polluting gases. Our product and service solutions include oxygen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, helium and hydrogen. Our main customers include the automotive, metallurgical, aerospace and healthcare sectors.

Q: How is Air Liquide investing in hydrogen production and transportation?

A: Hydrogen is one of the key technologies for the energy transition. Although the use of this gas is promising, its implementation is just beginning. Air Liquide has unique expertise in the market and we share a sense of urgency to drive the energy transition forward and halt climate change. The company has extensive experience in the production and distribution of green hydrogen. We have 1,000 employees working in the hydrogen industry and plan to invest €8 billion (US$7.98 billion) in this industry by 2030, which would consolidate our leading position in the sector. 

The potential of hydrogen stretches beyond replacing natural gas in industrial processes or power production: it also opens the door for us to participate in electromobility. Hydrogen can act as a clean fuel for heavier vehicles whose electrification is not the most efficient solution, such as trucks, trains, ships and airplanes. In addition to focusing on industrial hydrogen solutions, Air Liquide drives an electromobility agenda where hydrogen will be the leading fuel toward the 2050 net-zero goals.

Q: What strategy is Air Liquide pursuing in Mexico to push hydrogen solutions forward? 

A: In Mexico, we are pushing for the implementation of hydrogen through different strategies. First, we are helping our customers to decarbonize their operational processes. One example is the metallurgical sector, where we are working to replace natural gas with hydrogen in the medium and long term. To address changes in the short term, we encourage our customers to implement systems to capture and store the carbon they inadvertently produce.  

Outside of Mexico, we have concrete cases where we have been able to successfully implement hydrogen solutions. We understand our responsibility to promote the use of this molecule as one of the key technologies to decarbonize the Mexican industry and work with relevant stakeholders to build viable solutions adapted to market needs.

Mexico has immense potential to produce green hydrogen in the long term, as it has ample renewable power capacity to do so. However, producing green hydrogen in the country is not yet economically viable. The current solutions we are promoting in Mexico use locally produced blue hydrogen in conjunction with increasing energy efficiency in the use of natural gas. Carbon capture and storage methods are also a growing market, so we expect to produce numerous success stories in the country in the coming years.

Q: How can the country increase the economic feasibility of hydrogen in the coming years?

A: In the case of hydrogen, the technology and the will to use it exists, what is missing is its economic viability. The key to accelerating this accessibility is to work together with the private sector and the government. This alliance will make it possible to successfully implement new technologies that accelerate decarbonization. Air Liquide aims to generate these alliances in all the countries where we operate. Our priority is to be a leading partner in driving the energy transition.

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