The Linde Group has brought six major air separation units (ASUs) on-stream in Northwest China for Shenhua Ningxia’s mammoth coal-to-liquid (CTL) project in Lingwu.

Each ASU has a production capacity of around 100,000 standard cubic metres of gaseous oxygen (O2) per hour, with an additional six ASUs of the same size due to be completed at the site in the near future.

The development will make this site the world’s largest connected air separation complex, comprising of 12 individual units and producing an overall O2 capacity of approximately 1.2 million Nm3 per hour.

Shenhua Ningxia, a member of the largest coal-producing company in China, Shenhua Group Co. Ltd., will use the O2 for its CTL complex at the Ningdong Energy Chemical Base to produce four million tonnes of CTL products per year – making it one of the largest projects of its kind worldwide.


Linde’s engineering centres in Pullach, Germany, and Hangzhou, China, collaborated with its production locations in Schalchen, Germany, and Dalian, China, to assemble all six rectification coldboxes in four months.

John van der Velden, Member of the Board of Directors of Linde Engineering Division, highlighted, “CTL complexes on this scale require ASUs that can similarly offer benchmark capacity and efficiency performance. These executions capabilities provide further proof of our leading market positions in the ASU segment.”

The Tier One player was first awarded the contract to build the units in February 2013.

According to gasworld Business Intelligence, the Chinese industrial gases market was valued at $9.1bn in 2015. Senior Business Analyst James Barr signified, “The captive segment of the industrial gases business – where the end-user owns and operates its own production facilities – is one of the largest in the world. If all captive production facilities in China were converted to onsite contracts, the total market value could potentially double.”