Entitled ‘Gas Production Methods’, Session 2 of the Latin America industrial Gases Conference 2011 offered delegates the chance to learn from the most informed members of our community about the latest gas production technologies.

John Raquet, Managing Director of Spiritus Consulting, founder and owner of gasworld, chaired proceedings. He opened the session with a synopsis of the presentation delectabilities in store: “Good Morning ladies and gentlemen. I feel we had a really strong start with three excellent presentations in the first session. This second session is about gas production technologies of which we’ll hear in detail about. We shall begin with an exploration of the growing and important area of CO2, followed by discussion of non-cryogenic gas production before finishing-up with a look at acetylene.”

Commencing the session, Luciano Engel, General Sales Manager for South America at Union Engineering, considered traditional technologies related to the extraction and recovery of CO2. After contextualising his firm, Engel embarked upon a fascinating three-pronged presentation that considered firstly the trend for market development, followed by an exploration of the evolution of the market, concluding with attention to regional trends.

Especially noteworthy were Engel’s observations regarding Latin American obstacles to low cost CO2 extraction. The regional expert advised, “CO2 demand requires that plants have more volume and increased capacity, but of course one of the barriers that we encounter with liquid CO2 is the infrastructure and transportation. Although this type of plant is popular in the Middle East where fuel costs are relatively low, it is less adoptable in other global areas such as Latin America.”

Union, renowned for its R&D facilities and Knowledge Centre, is well placed to address emerging technologies within its sector. Therefore it was with keen interest that audience members were privy to a concluding run-down of the newest emerging technologies developed by the in house team. Piquing special interest, Engel explored the recent patented process of recovering CO2 from hydrogen – a process which currently witnesses particular activity in Chile.

With a change of tack conference focus then migrated to non cryogenic oxygen production, courtesy of Anderson Bonventi, Director of Air Liquide Brasil. Reflecting points mentioned during the first session, Bonventi was particular to maintain a customer based focus. With a synopsis of the main different client profiles, from industrial merchant packaged gases to industrial merchant onsite, Bonventi offered listeners a thorough explanation of the different options available with regards to non cryogenic oxygen production.

Closing the second session was popular gasworld conference speaker and Rexarc President, Jim Bowman. Bowman utilised the opportunity to draw delegate attention to an often overlooked, but essential industrial gas – acetylene. In a considered presentation, the acetylene expert offered a candid discussion of the factors and indeed issues related to acetylene production. Never fearful of broaching the tough subjects, Bowman discussed the tricky to negotiate regulations associated with plant start-up. Similarly, though described as “Alive and kicking”, the Rexarc President explored the detrimental effects of the recent economic downturn on acetylene demand.

However, the portrait was equally positive with highly encouraging talk of an up-turn in demand, acetylene's multiple applications and exciting horizons. Referencing work by Florida State University of Technology’s Centre for Composite Technologies, Bowman alluded to future trends – from the use of acetylene in carbon nanotube, ‘buckpaper’ to even its potential to power cars. Indeed, delegates were undoubtedly left in agreement that, “We can only guess what the future might bring in terms of acetylene.”