Air Liquide has signed more than 20 contracts worth a total of €100 million thanks to a solution that reduces greenhouse gas emissions for the maritime industry. The technology developed, based on the Turbo-Brayton physical principle, reliquefies natural gas boil-off in LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) vessels in order to significantly reduce greenhouse emissions during transport. This application illustrates the capacity of Air Liquide's teams to develop sustainable new solutions to support their customers' business.
In the maritime industry, LNG carriers transport LNG from methane-producing countries to consumer countries over very long distances. This natural gas, which is cold in its liquid state, tends to reheat and in part evaporates during transport. Air Liquide has developed a refrigeration and liquefaction technology based on the Turbo-Brayton physical principle, which reliquefies the evaporated natural gas and keeps it in the container in liquid form.
The cryogenic equipment that uses this technology enables shipping companies and freight forwarders to comply with maritime industry regulations on greenhouse gas emission. With these contracts, more than 20, Air Liquide is helping to prevent more than 120,000 tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions per year.
This Air Liquide technology was first used in the space industry to preserve at very low temperatures biological samples on the International Space Station (ISS), before being adapted by Air Liquide's teams for the maritime industry. It can also be adapted to other sectors and other gases, for example to liquefy biomethane for road freight.
François Darchis, Senior Vice-President and member of the Air Liquide group Executive Committee, supervising Innovation, said:
"This commercial success illustrates the capacity of the Group's teams to develop innovative technological solutions that create new market opportunities while taking into account our customers' environmental needs, and thus reduce global greenhouse gas emissions of the planet. These new technologies are helping to meet the challenge of climate change, in line with our climate objectives, which are the most ambitious in our industry."
- The global warming potential of methane is 32 times greater than that of CO2.
Air Liquide's offer is based on innovative and efficient cryogenic solutions for the refrigeration and liquefaction of various gases from 20K (minus to 253°C) to 200K (-73°C) based on the inverted Brayton cycle: gas is compressed, cooled at constant pressure, and then expanded, which makes it liquid.
The Global Markets and Technologies business (GM&T) provides technological solutions (molecules, equipment, and services) to support the development of new energy transition markets in the maritime industry and deep tech, in order to ramp up Air Liquide's sustainable growth. GM&T has 1,900 employees around the world, generating revenue of €474 million in 2018.