US industrial gases firm Air Products has is now developing $15bn of energy transition projects — the vast majority of which are low-carbon hydrogen schemes — the company revealed today (Tuesday).
The news suggests that the company is on track to reach its target, unveiled last year, of investing $15bn in energy transition projects by 2027.
Air Products lists of eight major hydrogen projects under execution, all of which have received a final investment decision (FID), the company told Hydrogen Insight, including the 2.2GW Neom green hydrogen and ammonia complex in Saudi Arabia.
The list, delivered as part of Air Products’ Q1 2024 results, also revealed that the company is targeting a top-end return of investment of more than 10% on its energy transition projects.
Neom, in which Air Products is the sole offtaker and one of three co-developers (in addition to Saudi renewables developer ACWA Power and the state owned Neom Company), is now under construction and is expected to cost $8.4bn.
Air Products, which also has a contract worth more than $6bn to carry out the engineering, construction and procurement for Neom, plans to deliver the ammonia volumes into Europe for use in the transport sector when the plant comes on line in 2026.
Air Products is contributing around $700m in capex outlay (the project will be funded with approximately 25% equity, of which Air Products will contribute a third), however the trio has secured more than $9bn in funding to finance the project.
The company listed total capital expenditure of $1.3bn across its entire portfolio for Q4, including $362m in Neom-related capex, but noted that some of its expenditure on Neom-related activities has been adjusted to reflect the fact that it is part of a joint venture with equity in the project.
Also on the list is Air Products’ plan to invest $500m in a liquid green hydrogen production plant for transport applications in New York state, first announced in 2022, which was pitched at the time as the company’s first step towards developing an H2 refuelling network in the US Northeast.
Curiously, although the New York scheme is listed as a green hydrogen project, Neom is characterised a “carbon-free hydrogen” project, which could be a reference to the fact that the Saudi ammonia plant may at times have to source its power from the grid, disqualifying the output as true “green hydrogen” (ie, a renewable fuel of non-biological origin) under EU rules.
The company also lists its $2bn venture with Houston-based World Energy, first announced in 2022, to develop a $2bn plant to make “net zero” hydrogen for World Energy’s sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) facility in southern California.
The hydrogen plant is mooted to come into operation in 2025, with offtake secured via a long-term take-or-pay agreement with World Energy.
There are also three blue hydrogen investments, including Air Products’ grey-to-blue hydrogen switching scheme in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, on which it announced FID in November last year after it was one of four companies to jointly secure €2.1bn ($2.26bn) of grants from the Dutch government for carbon capture and storage (CCS) infrastructure.
The remaining two blue H2 investments both appear to be connected to Air Products’ $4.5bn blue hydrogen project in Louisiana, which envisages, separately, blue hydrogen production and pipeline export, and sequestration (most likely of carbon dioxide emitted from the production plant) and shipping.
A further “low-carbon H2” investment is listed as a downstream hydrogen distribution programme, which is targeting long-term offtake agreements. No further details are available.
Hydrogen Insight contacted Air Products for further information but had not received a response at the time of first publication.
CORRECTION: an earlier version of this article stated that only two projects have reached FID. Air Products reached out to clarify that all the projects in the backlog list have reached FID and are now under execution. The Neom partners have also previously announced that around 25% of Neom's $8.4bn cost will be met with equity, of which Air Products is a one-third partner.