Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP has completed the construction of an on-site nitrogen production plant. In keeping with the firm’s environmental commitment, the facility features a reduced carbon footprint.

Located in Moses Lake, Washington, the plant will supply high purity gaseous nitrogen to a new lightweight carbon fibers production facility operated by SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC - a joint venture between SGL Group and the new BMW Group.

According to the contract, Air Liquide will be facilitating the installation, operation and maintenance of the system. Moreover, thanks to the firm's APSA technology, the customer has been promised, ‘cost effective on-site generation of high purity nitrogen using a cryogenic distillation process.’

Michael J Graff, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc. described the deal as exemplary: “We are pleased to partner with SGL ACF in this emerging market for new-age automotive materials. This joint venture is a substantive example of how innovative technology can drive industry and benefit the environment.”

According to SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers officials, Air Liquide established the lowest carbon footprint of all competing vendors and met the rigorous “green” criteria included in the processes to produce lightweight carbon fibers and fabrics.

The lightweight carbon fibers manufactured in Moses Lake will be used by the automaker BMW Group in its production of a new generation of lightweight electric automobiles, namely the BMW i3, which is scheduled to launch in 2013.

SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers will begin manufacturing lightweight carbon fibers at the Moses Lake plant in Q3 2011. The lightweight carbon fiber manufacturing process requires the continuous use of high purity nitrogen to inert the carbon fiber ovens for maintaining quality and production control.