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Air Products Building Domestic Hydrogen Plant for PetroChina Refinery; First Contract for Outsourced Hydrogen Supply for a State-Owned Refinery

Air Products’ joint venture company based in Sichuan, China has signed a long-term agreement to build a hydrogen production facility for PetroChina Company Limited, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world. It is the first time that a state-owned refinery in China has outsourced its hydrogen requirements.

The steam methane reformer (SMR) will produce hydrogen and syngas to support PetroChina’s Sichuan refinery and petrochemical facilities. The facility will produce more than 90 million standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen and is targeted to be on stream in early 2012.

We are honored to be part of this first-ever contract to provide outsourced hydrogen to PetroChina. We have a similar JV that has already contracted with PetroChina to supply oxygen and nitrogen, so we are pleased that they have shown further confidence in Air Products providing a reliable, low-cost supply of hydrogen and other industrial gases for their new Sichuan refinery and ethylene complex. This project will help make cleaner transportation fuel available to meet China’s growing demand.

—Phil Sproger, vice president-Business Development for Asia at Air Products

The hydrogen production plant will feature technology advancements to maximize facility energy efficiency and emission reductions. The enhanced SMR design targets minimal loss of heat to the environment, which in turn reduces the quantity of natural gas required to make hydrogen. These efforts and other productivity improvements support Air Products’ overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions.

PetroChina plays a leading role in the oil and gas industry in China as its largest oil and gas producer and distributor. PetroChina was established as a joint stock company with limited liabilities by China National Petroleum Corporation in 1999.

This is the second contract announced with PetroChina in the past year. In September of 2009, the same Air Products joint venture company signed an agreement to build an air separation unit (ASU). The ASU will supply oxygen and nitrogen to PetroChina’s main refinery and ethylene complex in Sichuan, as well as produce liquid products for Air Products’ merchant gases customers in the Chengdu area. The ASU is targeted to be on-stream in late 2011.

The Sichuan hydrogen facility will be built through the global alliance between Air Products and Technip, which has built more than 30 hydrogen production facilities.


Henry Gibson

Make sure that there is a railroad track and coal storage. It is cheaper to make hydrogen from coal in China than it is from methane, and it might be more CO2 efficient. There is much flaring of methane in the oil industry, but little coal is flared. Peak oil has long been predicted but peak coal is far off.

A nuclear power plant would be better for making hydrogen with high temperature thermochemical processes.

Even the Chinese CANDU reactors can make hydrogen with the more efficient high temperature electrolysis, where fission provides both heat and electricity. "Waste" fuel from regular reactors can be used in CANDU reactors, and China is beginning to test this. The "big piles" of nuclear waste fuel never were waste, and even so, with care, they could all be fit into a small WALMART if China, Canada, Brazil, India and Rumania dont want to use them. Every one of the about 98 percent unfissioned atoms can be fissioned with a combination of known and operating and the known and not operating Rubbia Reactor.

Rememember people and bananas and lots of other things have always been radioactive.

There are people who can build fission reactors that operate at 2000 centigrade. Even the Chinese pebble bed reactor might be able to split water.



"A nuclear power plant would be better for making hydrogen with high temperature thermochemical processes."

That is totally unnecessary. Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe - can be abundantly available on Earth. It all depends on lifting restrictions. Which way do we want it?

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