Air Liquide has announced plans to build a hydrogen (H2) production plant and expand its long-term supply of H2 to Argentina’s leading refiner.

Under a €55m ($60.4m) investment, the Tier One player will build a second steam methane reformer (SMR) for Axion Energy Argentina, a subsidiary of Bridas Corporation, in Campana, Argentina.

The latest plant will raise the H2 production capacity of the site to 37,400 Nm3 per hour and will help meet Axion’s increased needs for its refinery processes, supporting its recent investments to expand operations in the South American country.

The SMR, which will also provide Axion with additional steam, is expected to commence operations by the second half of 2018.

”Air Liquide’s long-term presence in Argentina highlights our commitment to helping drive growth in this country and the region”

Michael J. Graff, Senior Vice-President for the Americas, Air Liquide

The first SMR built by Air Liquide for the site in 2010 and produces approximately 12,500 m3 of H2 per hour. The France-based corporation will expand its carbon dioxide (CO2) recovery operations at the site to process raw CO2 from the plant, which then be sold to customers in the local food and beverage market.

The energy-efficient SMR will be designed and supplied by Air Liquide’s Engineering & Construction teams and will be owned and operated by the industrial gas corporation.

Michael J. Graff, Air Liquide-Airgas

Michael J. Graff

Source: Air Liquide

Michael J. Graff (left), Senior Vice-President for the Americas and member of Air Liquide group’s Executive Committee, reinforced, “Air Liquide’s long-term presence in Argentine highlights our commitment to helping drive growth in this country and the region. We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Axion Energy and supporting their business development and value chain with safe and reliable products and service.”

The Argentinian industrial gases market was worth roughly $400m in 2015, with Air Liquide dominating the largest market share of over 40%.