Air Liquide will invest approximately €100m in a brand-new air separation unit (ASU) in Zhangjiagang City, China, with a daily capacity of 3,800 tonnes of oxygen.

The industrial gas giant’s largest ASU in China, the facility will supply krypton and xenon to the growing electronics industry, as well as other air gases for industrial merchant activity.

Sharing the news today (9th July), Air Liquide said it has signed a new 20-year-long agreement with Jiangsu Shagang Group for the supply of industrial gases to the city within the Jiangsu Province.

To be located on a site where two ASUs are currently operational, the new unit will bring the total installed oxygen capacity to over 8,000 tonnes per day on the location.

It is hoped the new ASU will start up at the end of 2023.

Commenting on the development, François Abrial, Member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee supervising Asia Pacific, said, “This new contract further enhances Air Liquide and Shagang Group’s long-term partnership which was established in 2007.”

“With this state-of-the-art low carbon plant, we are committed to leveraging our innovative solutions to help our customers reduce the carbon footprint of steel-making and other industries.”

“This is a new illustration of our commitment to act for a sustainable future and reach carbon neutrality by 2050.”

Once complete, the ASU will be equipped with the proprietary solution Alive™, an innovation that allows for the storage of up to 60MW of energy per day, enabling flexibility in the grid and contributing to a higher reliability of gas supply.

Replacing old assets installed on the customer site and using an incremental proportion of low-carbon energy, the ASU will contribute to a lower carbon footprint for this flagship site, in line with Air Liquide’s journey towards carbon neutrality.

Additionally, the facility will be a key source of krypton and xenon for Air Liquide, addressing the growing demand of the electronics industry. The Zhangjiagang site will also become Air Liquide’s largest liquid oxygen and nitrogen source in China.

Shen Wenrong, Chairman of Jiangsu Shagang Group, added, “Air Liquide boasts advanced ASU technology and expertise in engineering and manufacturing and digitalised operations.”

“Building on our strong cooperation, this new contract will further strengthen our relationship while bringing down Shagang’s production cost and energy consumption.”

“Echoing China’s objectives for carbon peak and carbon neutrality, we look forward to working with Air Liquide to explore decarbonising steel-making through technologies of hydrogen metallurgy and carbon capture.”