US refiners’ increasing reliance on heavier crudes and the need to comply with new regulations—such as the mandated switch to Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel—is rapidly increasing demand for hydrogen.
Air Liquide, a global leader in industrial and medical gases, has recently brought into production a new steam methane reformer (SMR) hydrogen unit in Bayport, Texas, and has begun work on another SMR unit in California, scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2008.
Air Liquide’s hydrogen business in the US doubled between 2000 and 2004 and has doubled again from 2004 to the present. With this new hydrogen plant on-stream and the SMR underway in California, we are committed to continue to steadily increase the supply of hydrogen to serve the needs of refiners and petrochemical customers in major industrial basins.—Pierre Dufour, Air Liquide Group Executive Vice-President and President and CEO, American Air Liquide
The Bayport SMR has a capacity of 100 million standard cubic feet per day. It is one of the main components of an expansion of Air Liquide’s hydrogen system on the Gulf Coast. A newly built purification station employing Air Liquide patented technology has been added in Freeport, Texas, and a 23-mile extension to the pipeline itself has been built between Bayport and Texas City, Texas.
Air Liquide Group sales of hydrogen in 2005 are estimated to be around €650 million (US$830 million) and are projected to reach €1 billion (US$1.3 billion) by 2008. The Group operates 200 hydrogen production units throughout the world (of which 30 are large units) as well as the world’s longest hydrogen pipeline network (1,700 km).
Earlier this week, Air Liquide announced it was joining Phase II of a carbon sequestration research project of the Midwest Geological Sequestration Consortium (MGSC). (Earlier post.)