The Infra Group, Air Products’ Mexican partner, is building two new air separation units in the region with a combined capacity of 250 tpd, to meet demand from increased industrial gas activity in the Central American region.

The free trade agreement with the US as well as a number of other variables, have led the Central American economies to a period of growth, therefore increasing the activity of the industrial gases market in the region.

The Infra Group, since 2004 has partnered with Fabrigas Group in Guatemala to form a joint venture (JV) in the region’s largest economy, and also a partnership with El Salvador’s Oxgasa.

Productos del Aire, the Guatemalan JV, will commission an ASU in the first half of 2009 at its El Jocote site. The El Jocote site hosts two smaller air separation units, a hydrogen plant and cryogenic maintenance facilities.

In El Salvador, at the heart of an industrial park set to focus on the electronics sector, the second ASU is scheduled to be on stream by 2010. The plant will not only supply high purity nitrogen and argon to electronics customers, but will also cope with the merchant and packaged gases demand for the Salvadorian joint venture, Infra de El Salvador.

Air Products and Cryoinfra are closely working with the joint ventures to ensure all the safety and technical standards are met during construction and permanently on operation.

Mexico’s Infra Group, founded in 1919, is the leading supplier of industrial and medical gases, welding equipment and related products in Mexico. Infra has been serving Central America’s industrial gas market for a decade with operations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Belize.