Airgas, an Air Liquide company, has been given the go-ahead to start construction on a 17,000 square feet air separation unit (ASU) in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

At a recent meeting of the Cottage Grove Economic Development Authority, there were no objections to the plant, which is expected to be on-stream in 2020.

According to city documents, the ASU will “occupy an 8.5-acre parcel of land” and “includes the construction of an Xcel Electric substation and the extension of a 115kV electrical transmission overhead powerline to provide the high-power demand required to operate the cooling towers and compression systems needed to liquify atmospheric gases”.

The plant will be located ten miles south of Saint Paul, and about 20 miles south of Minneapolis city center, in the Southeast Twin Cities metropolitan area. It is expected construction will begin in April or May, and Airgas will employ around 25-35 workers at the plant.

Source: Airgas

The new ASU near Minneapolis/St Paul will enhance the company’s gas production to serve growing needs in the Midwest, ensuring long-term reliability of supply and enabling ongoing efficiencies in support of its merchant, packaged and on-site gas customers.

“Airgas has had a presence in the Minneapolis area for 30+ years, with six branch and plant locations and nearly 100 employees supporting our customers across many industries, including manufacturing, life science, energy and chemical, food and beverage, and construction,” an Airgas spokesperson told gasworld.

“Our growth in this market continues to expand across our entire product offering, including gases, welding equipment and supplies and safety products. Given our local presence and our growth in the area, we decided to add local bulk capabilities to have a full, reliable supply chain with more locally produced supply.

“Permitting is ongoing and construction is slated to begin in 2019 with operations expected to be on-stream in 2020.”

The ASU will produce oxygen, nitrogen and argon for use in customer applications such as food chilling and freezing, metal fabrication, blanketing and purging, and combustion enhancement. It will also produce medical grade oxygen to supply to hospitals, nursing homes, and research laboratories, as well as food and pharmaceutical grade nitrogen.