A hydrogen plant has been officially opened in Newport, South Wales, marking a multimillion pound investment by BOC.

Directors and staff from BOC and Eastman Chemical Company joined key contractors at a ceremony at Eastman’s site in Newport to mark the official opening.

BOC, a member of The Linde Group and the biggest industrial gases company in the UK, has delivered and will operate and manage the hydrogen steam methane reformer. BOC Margam, the largest BOC site in South Wales, will run and maintain the hydrogen operation as a local satellite plant, while BOC’s Remote Operating Centre in Rotherham, South Yorkshire will monitor and control the hydrogen plant remotely.

The plant ensures that Eastman has sufficient hydrogen to manufacture and support future expansion of its Therminol range of heat transfer fluids.

Stephen Hampson, Speciality Fluids Manufacturing Director of Eastman, said, “I am delighted to have worked with BOC on this important project. The project will improve the security of supply and fulfil the demand following the start-up of the new Therminol production plant.”

Sue Graham Johnston, Managing Director of BOC, commented, “BOC has been located at the heart of South Wales’ chemical industry for over 60 years and we are committed to supporting the area’s local industry with our industrial gases. The project was a complex feat and its success is testimony to the excellent relationship we have with Eastman.”

Nathan Palmer, BOC’s Director of Bulk and Packaged Gases, added, “BOC, as the UK and Ireland’s biggest industrial gases business and part of The Linde Group, is committed to leveraging its strengths to support the long-term competitiveness of the chemicals sector. This project demonstrates the quality of our engineering and commercial teams with BOC people amongst the best in the industry.”

This major project converts desulphurised natural gas to hydrogen in a steam reformer. The hydrogen gas is then purified and compressed before being ready to be piped to the process units on site.