Air Products earns top sustainability listing, but how clean is blue hydrogen?

(Courtesy Air Products) Air Products' hydrogen production facility in Geismar.

Pennsylvania-based industrial gas company Air Products, which in October announced plans for a massive $4.5 billion blue hydrogen complex in Ascension Parish, was listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index listing for the 12th consecutive year.

According to an Air Products announcement, the 2021/22 DJSI places Air Products in the top 20% of North American companies in its industry group based on long-term economic, environmental and social criteria.

However, the company’s Louisiana project, which is expected to create hundreds of jobs and add to the state’s lineup of clean energy producers, recently drew scrutiny over just how clean blue hydrogen really is. A peer-reviewed study from Cornell University found that hydrogen production might lead to even more greenhouse gas emissions over its life cycle than simply burning natural gas, reports.

In Louisiana, the hydrogen produced by air products could be used to decarbonize the industrial sector that is responsible for almost two thirds of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes online in 2026 the plant will supply low-carbon liquid fuel that could power airplanes, trucks and ships.

But critics of blue hydrogen say it’s not the best choice to lower emissions. The study argues that blue hydrogen “appears difficult to justify on climate grounds” even if 90% of the carbon produced in the extraction process is captured and permanently stored underground. Read the full story from and see Air Products’ announcement about its DJSI listing here.