Young people are concerned about the impact of climate change. I think it is our job to address their concerns about the future. This is the reason why I took the job in INEOS’ hydrogen activities. It’s important that we can tell our children that the industrial sector is leading the way towards a more sustainable, habitable and greener planet. There are things we can all do individually like flying less or eating less meat, but it will be the big collective changes that will get us there. The time is now.
Hydrogen will help us move to more sustainable processes which emit less CO2 emissions. Not all processes can be directly electrified with renewable electricity, and therefore low carbon hydrogen will be an important source of sustainable energy and feedstock. I also strongly believe in the role of green molecules, such as green methanol and green ammonia that can be produced with green hydrogen.
With hydrogen we can create climate-friendly chemical building blocks for our production processes and make consumer products greener. If you can recycle and reuse those end products afterwards, you have a fully circular process.
The next milestone that will make a step-change in our society is without a doubt renewable energy, green molecules and sustainable products. Everything that has to do with sustainability will cause a turnaround in the same way that information technology and the internet did in the last century.
There is a lot of innovation in the industrial sector that is not always visible to consumers yet. We know what we need to do and we have the will to reach climate neutrality by 2050. The biggest challenge now is to make it happen. A lot of innovation will still be needed to make this turnaround affordable.
We need to form partnerships by putting the best minds together and combining the strengths of individual companies. That is what we are doing with a consortium of seven companies in ‘Power to Methanol Antwerp’, to produce green methanol in Antwerp.
Wouter Bleukx is responsible for INEOS’ hydrogen activities. After his bio-engineering and PhD studies at the KU Leuven, he started working in R&D. The last 10 years Wouter Bleukx worked for INEOS in various business functions. Since 2020 these two aspects come together in his new leading role in the hydrogen business.