Martin Lawrence
Combustion Development Specialist,
Air Products

Energy Transition and Higher Efficiency Lead to Sustainability

Air Products are a global industrial gases and technology provider, focusing on efforts to improve sustainability for themselves as well as their customers, setting a target to reduce their carbon footprint by 30% by 2030. Air Products, as the largest hydrogen producer worldwide, are well positioned for decarbonisation, with proven carbon capture technologies that are already in operation on their own SMR hydrogen production facilities. Furthermore, Air Products are the first company in the world to begin building a large-scale green hydrogen production facility, namely the NEOM project, which will provide hydrogen for mobility projects and the industry transition in Europe from 2025.

A considerable portion of the CO2 emissions from industry comes from combustion processes and Air Products helps their customers achieve their sustainability targets with the latest oxyfuel technologies, which are also capable of using hydrogen or hydrogen/natural gas fuel blending. Even though natural gas is a relatively low carbon fuel, oxyfuel technology improves combustion efficiency and hence, reduces energy consumption per ton of product, thereby reducing carbon footprint. Switching from air-fuel systems to Air Products bespoke oxyfuel combustion technology can improve fuel consumption by up to 50% and it follows that carbon emissions are reduced by the same amount, as well as reducing flue gas volumes by up to 70%. The enhanced efficiency also leads to increased productivity from 25-40% or more and product yield can also be seen to increase in the range of 0.5-2%, leading to increased profit margins.

Air Products have also focused recent efforts into Industry 4.0 technology, with Air Products Process Intelligence (APPI), enabling equipment for different industrial applications with smart process control. In line with this approach, APPI Process Advisor creates a digital twin of the melting process and uses real time and historical data to provide live feedback to operators on how to control the furnace to improve operational consistency and minimise human error. The results have shown a reduction in energy usage and carbon emissions of up to 15%, shorter melting times by up to 10% and an improved yield of 0.5%.


Biography

Martin Lawrence joined the Air Products Graduate Scheme in 2013 after completing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering, studying combustion fundamentals. For the last 5 years he has worked in the combustion applications group, developing and implementing combustion technology onto customer processes in the non-ferrous metals industry.