Air Liquide adds a new hydrogen plant in Bayport on the Texas Gulf Coast.

The rapidly growing demand for hydrogen from refineries has prompted Air Liquide to construct a new hydrogen production facility to support increasing needs from its customers.

Refineries across Europe and the United States are under pressure to produce cleaner fuels to meet with environmental regulations. As a result greater volumes of Hydrogen are needed to reduce the sulphur content in fuels and thus in engine emissions.

The new steam methane reformer (SMR) will produce up to 100 million standard cubic feet hydrogen per day (110 000 Nm3/hr), making it one of Air Liquide's largest hydrogen plants worldwide.

The new plant will begin operations in May 2006. It will be built at Air Liquide's Bayport complex and will optimise energy produced by this facility's existing boilers and cogeneration units. The Bayport complex also operates three air separation units for the production of oxygen, nitrogen and argon, and produces demineralised and treated water for area customers and for its own use.

With this new facility, Air Liquide's hydrogen production facilities in the US will include five SMR's in Texas, California and Washington state, and a number of hydrogen purification units.

Pierre Dufour, Executive Vice-President and Member of the Executive Committee of Air Liquide, \\$quot;The expansion of our hydrogen production and distribution systems in the major Texas Gulf Coast industrial basin is evidence that Air Liquide is well positioned in this region to meet the long-term needs of its customers. We will continue to help them improve their productivity and make their processes more environmentally friendly, in line with our own worldwide commitment to sustainable development.\\$quot;

Air Liquide currently operate 35 hydrogen production units throughout the world.