Airgas has announced plans to build a liquid hydrogen plant in Calvert City, Kentucky, will the company anticipates will come on-stream in summer 2016.

The new facility will have the capacity to produce ten tonnes per day of liquid hydrogen for use in a wide range of customer applications, including electrical power generation; the production of metals, glass, chemicals, and food products; and emerging applications for hydrogen-powered fuel cells.

“We have many hydrogen customers, but our new, state-of-the-art, liquid hydrogen facility in Calvert City will be the first of its kind for Airgas and provide an opportunity for growth,” said Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer, Michael L. Molinini. “The facility will enable us to bring innovative hydrogen solutions to customers in a variety of industries across much of the Southern United States and well into the Midwest.”

The liquid hydrogen plant will neighbour Airgas’ new air separation unit (ASU), announced in May 2014 and expected to be on-stream in the spring of 2016. The ASU will supply tonnage oxygen and nitrogen via pipeline to Westlake Chemical Corporation, as well as produce liquid oxygen, nitrogen, and argon for the region’s merchant bulk gas market.

“Both our liquid hydrogen plant and our ASU in Calvert City will be operated by Airgas Merchant Gases,” said Tom Thoman, Airgas Division President - Gases Production. “Our investments in expanded gas production and distribution capabilities in underserved markets reflect our commitment to meeting the growing needs of our gas customers as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

Thoman will discuss the company’s planned new liquid hydrogen plant and overall gases production strategy in more detail at the previously announced 2014 Analyst Meeting to be held today (Thursday, 4th of December).

In addition to gases, Airgas is a leading supplier of a wide range of hardgoods, including welding equipment and related products, safety products, and tools and supplies for construction and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO).