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CO2 : an essential molecule

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is frequently mentioned in environmental debates and wrongfully maligned as the source of all evil. In reality, this gas plays an essential role for living beings and is useful for many applications. Air Liquide has developed a unique expertise on this molecule and its applications.
Séverine Lepic, CO2 Innovation Program Manager at Air Liquide, sheds light on this little-known molecule.

Three questions to Séverine Lepic, CO2 Innovation Program Manager at Air Liquide, sheds light on this little-known molecule

Why is CO2 essential to life?
CO2 occurs naturally in the atmosphere. Without it, the average temperature would be far below 32°F/0°C, which would change life on Earth. CO2 is also essential to plant growth through the process of photosynthesis. Following the Industrial Revolution, the natural cycle of CO2 among the atmosphere, the land and the oceans, has been altered by human actions, causing carbon generation, released into our atmosphere in the form of CO2. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has thus increased, contributing to the phenomenon known as global warming. The damage doesn’t come from the molecule itself, but from its rising concentration since the Industrial Revolution.

What is the potential of this molecule for 
Air Liquide?
The CO2 market presents a strong growth potential. The Group captures CO2 from industrial processes to valorize it for agri-food applications: freezing food and preserving food products such as packaged salad. The Group also provides to the producers and restaurants the CO2 necessary to carbonate beverages such as mineral water, beers and soft drinks. The market is quite significant: about 200 billion liters of carbonated beverages are sold every year.

Does Air Liquide contribute to reduce CO2 emissions?

The Group takes direct actions to improve air quality and fight against global warming. Air Liquide is helping to reduce CO2 emissions by lowering the carbon content of its products and services and increasing the efficiency of its operations as well as those of its customers. In 2015, Air Liquide inaugurated Cryocap™, an industrial installation allowing the capture of the CO2 emissions generated by a hydrogen production unit through a new cryogenic technology. Developed by Air Liquide’s engineering teams, this top-notch innovation allows the valorization of 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year on the Air Liquide site of Port-Jérôme (France).Air Liquide has also partnered with the US start-up Solidia Technologies® for another innovative application: a new equipment for CO2 injection for the production of concrete. It results in reduced concrete curing times and lower water consumption. This allows the entire industrial chain to reduce the environmental footprint of pre-cast concrete of up to 70%.

Discover Cryocap™ technology


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