Today is a celebratory one for BOC who are recognizing the fruits of a £60m investment programme with the opening of Britain’s newest Air Separation Unit (ASU) in Scunthorpe.

The facility, which has been ‘built to the highest standards’, will offer its main customer, Corus Steel, a daily capacity of 1,600 tonnes of oxygen, while the 45 metre high fractionating column has grown into a key feature of the Scunthorpe skyline.

As the first ASU to be built in the UK for over a decade, and the first major combinative project undertaken by BOC and its parent company, The Linde Group, all eyes are on Scunthorpe. Indeed, today’s opening is to be inaugurated by Dr Aldo Belloni, Board Member of The Linde Group, and local MP, Nic Dakin.
Belloni described the working relationship between Linde’s Engineering Division, who constructed the plant, and Britain’s BOC, “BOC and our engineering experts have worked closely together to produce a new plant built to the highest standards of technology which will meet the needs of our customers for many years to come.”

Construction on the facility began following BOC’s successful negotiation of a new contract to supply Corus steelworks with oxygen. Having separated air into oxygen, nitrogen and argon by cooling it to around -200°C, a new dedicated pipeline delivers the high-pressure oxygen direct to the Corus blast furnaces five kilometers away.

All that remains is the final regeneration phase that will see BOC overhaul and refurbish the existing ASU. After completion, this stage will give the site an overall oxygen production capacity of nearly 4,000 tonnes per day.

Mike Huggon, BOC’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland explained the significance of the new plant, “BOC built its first Air Separation Unit on this site more than 50 years ago primarily to service the steel industry. This new unit represents state-of-the-art technology for the 21st century, incorporating much higher levels of energy efficiency.”

He continued, “This latest £60 million investment is a sign of our commitment to provide a reliable supply of industrial gases to our many customers in the region – including, of course, Corus – for years to come. Industry in Lincolnshire and Humberside can rely on BOC.”

Nic Dakin, MP for Scunthorpe County reiterated the regional importance of this investment, “BOC has long been part of this region’s industrial backbone. We welcome this continuing commitment to our community and hope that other industries will see the benefits of locating to this region where we have good infrastructure and excellent facilities.”

gasworld readers can look forward to a full exposé of the day’s events in the November magazine.