Air Products and Linde North America Inc. have teamed up in a new production joint venture to build a large-scale air separation unit (ASU) and industrial gas liquefier in New York.

The 50/50 joint venture, named East Coast Nitrogen (ECN), will build a new 1,100 tonnes per day (tpd) facility in Glenmont under an initial capital investment of $60m.

The plant, which will be situated at Air Products’ existing site in New York, will boost merchant liquid production capabilities and increase industrial gas capacity for regional customers in the Northeast.

Specifically, it will produce liquid oxygen (LOX), nitrogen (LIN) and argon (LAR) for growing requirements in the region’s food, manufacturing, metals, glass, chemical, electronics and healthcare industries.

Industrial gas products will be distributed by both parties equally and independently to the market. The new plant is expected to be commissioned in December 2018.

Strategic sense

Marie Ffolkes, President, Industrial Gases Americas at Air Products, said the formation of the gas giants’ joint venture “made strategic sense.”

Chris Ebeling, Vice-President, Merchant and Packaged Gases Sales & Marketing at Linde, echoed that the joint venture would be “one of a series of investments” to support the company’s North American growth strategy.

Air Products’ current plant at Glenmont was built 40 years ago in 1977 and produces over 400 tpd of liquid capacity.

This is the second ASU joint venture between the two Tier One players after they initially joined forces in 2000 to create East Coast Oxygen in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

According to gasworld Business Intelligence, the US industrial gases business was valued at approximately $20bn in 2016, with Air Products and Linde holding market shares of 14% and 16%, respectively.

The gases business in the Mid-Atlantic region was valued at $2.1bn in the same year, with Linde holding a market share of 17% compared to Air Products’ 9%.