Air Products yesterday held a ribbon-cutting event in Texas where the Tier One corporation has invested more than $350m to build, own and operate a world-scale steam methane reformer (SMR).
The SMR, located at the Covestro LLC Baytown industrial park, is producing hydrogen (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) to be supplied at Baytown to Covestro and to other customers linked to Air Products’ Gulf Coast H2 and CO pipeline networks.
“Our decades-long relationship with Covestro and its predecessor companies continues to grow with this new facility in Baytown,” said Marie Ffolkes, Air Products’ President of Industrial Gases Americas.
“Our new plant is important to our host site customer Covestro for the carbon monoxide produced, but the facility also offers other benefits to Air Products, other customers, and even the general public.”
“The new SMR strengthens Air Products’ position in the Texas CO market, and it increases the product capacity of our well-established hydrogen pipeline supply network while creating a product necessary to making cleaner burning transportation fuels, which helps to keep the air we breathe cleaner.”
The SMR and cold box are both located on land leased from Covestro, a world-leading manufacturer of high-tech polymer materials for diverse industries, such as automotive, construction and furniture. The SMR produces approximately 125 million standard cubic feet per day (mmscfd) of H2 and a world-scale supply of carbon monoxide, a critical raw material for Covestro’s chemical production in Baytown.
“We’re proud to host Air Products and its world-class SMR facility at our Baytown Industrial Park,” said Rod Herrick, Vice-President, Covestro Baytown Industrial Park. “We’re always exploring new opportunities to increase the reliability and efficiency of our Baytown operations, and today marks an important milestone on that journey. The new SMR facility will strengthen our regional supply network, which in turn allows us to better serve our customers.”
Air Products’ new SMR was built through the global H2 alliance between the US-based company and TechnipFMC, a global leader in subsea onshore/offshore, and surface projects for the energy industry. The plant features the latest technology to maximise energy efficiency and reduce emissions, and includes optimal heat integration, which in turn lowers feedstock consumption. The plant configuration and deployed technologies support Air Products’ overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions.
Ffolkes added that Air Products’ ability for the new plant to connect to its existing Gulf Coast Pipeline (GCP), the world’s largest H2 plant and pipeline network system, remains a value-added plus for H2 customers in terms of ensuring product reliability.
In April 2018, Air Products announced another increase to the supply capacity of its GCP supply network by approximately 40 mmscfd from processing H2-rich off-gas from a propane dehydrogenation plant in Mont Belvieu, Texas. Air Products officially innaugurated its GCP in 2012. The 600-mile pipeline span stretches from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana, and supplies customers with over 1.4 billion feet of H2 per day from 23 H2 production facilities.
Pipelines offer a safe, robust and reliable supply of H2 to the refinery and petrochemical industries around the world. Globally, Air Products’ pipeline operational expertise is evidenced by its network of systems. Besides the GCP, Air Products also has a H2 pipeline in California in the US, in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, and in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.