Take 10 minutes out with Dr. Florian von Linde, Managing Director of Caloric GmbH, who discusses the company’s role in the gases industry, its supply of hydrogen to a number of industries, and why it has found hydrogen as an energy application to be a disappointment to date.
Dr. von Linde also explains why Incheon, South Korea was the last stamp in his passport, and what’s next on the agenda for Caloric.
Thanks for taking 10 minutes out with gasworld. What have we interrupted in your schedule today?
Just another day in the office. As I spend quite some of my time on sales activities, I keep close contact to clients and agents.
What’s the best thing about working for Caloric?
Caloric is a typical German ‘Mittelstand’ company, which means things are manageable. This provides a great degree of freedom on how to do your work. So in combination with our very international business, Caloric is quite an attractive company to work for.
Could you tell us a little about Caloric and its product portfolio?
We are a leading manufacturer of mid-size plants producing hydrogen, carbon monoxide and syngas. Also, we have some activities in engineering and other technologies like gas sweetening and hazardous waste incinerators. This year, Caloric celebrates 50 years in the market.
What are the main applications or customers of Caloric’s products? Is the company geared more toward the refinery hydrogen business, for example, or toward clean fuels and hydrogen as an energy vector?
Actually, hydrogen is used as a utility in many different industries. Our plant capacities are typically somewhat below the refinery requirements so we are more present in chemistry, metallurgy, food, palm oil, photovoltaics and so on.
There is no such thing as the standard application for hydrogen quantities between a few hundred and a few thousand Nm³/h where we feel strong. This is acutally pretty good for Caloric as the diversity of dealing with many different industries almost always provides some business when others are suffering.
The hydrogen as an energy field had its hype in the late 1990s and early 2000s, but has proved to be a disappointment to suppliers like Caloric so far. Beyond some lab scale or testing facilities, no major investment has happened. In the field of energy, we see others technologies like biofuels and electric power being more successful in the next one or two decades.
What’s the last stamp in your passport?
Incheon airport in Seoul, Korea; our business is mainly divided between Europe, Middle East and Asia.
Where did you take your last holiday?
After more than 20 years of regular travelling to Asia just on business, I could take my family this year for the first time to Singapore and Bali. It was very nice to have some time for sightseeing and relaxing as opposed to the typical hopping from planes to offices and back.
What was the last book you read?
A mystery from Frank Schätzing. Not really demanding, but very relaxing and helping with the purpose of the holidays.
What’s next for Caloric? What’s the main project you’re working toward at the moment?
Caloric has just finalised an R&D project on adapting our reforming technology to the requirements of various gas-to-liquids (GTL) processes. Right now we are in discussions for our first commercial plant. Even though the present oil price is low and activities in potential GTL projects have slowed down, we believe that in the mid and long-term view this will be an attractive market and we have lot to offer on the front end of a GTL plant.