Air Products has announced that Phase One of its two-stage carbon capture project in Port Arthur, TX is on-stream.

The news is described by the US Department of Energy (DOE) as a milestone in DOE’s Industrial Carbon Capture and Storage (ICCS) program.

The project is hosted at Air Products’ Port Arthur hydrogen production facility, part of its Gulf Coast hydrogen plant and pipeline supply network. The company designed, constructed and is now operating Phase One of a state-of-the-art system to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from one of its steam methane reformers (SMR) located within the Valero Port Arthur Refinery.

The project will capture approximately one million tonnes of CO2 annually to be recovered, purified by Air Products, and transported via a pipeline owned by Denbury Green Pipeline-Texas, for injection into the Denbury Onshore operated West Hastings Unit - an enhanced oil recovery (EOR) project in Texas.

DOE has estimated that the project will assist in the recovery of 1.6 - 3.1 million additional barrels of domestic oil annually, and has provided a significant portion of the funding (66 percent) for the more than $400 million project. Air Products’ project was the only industrial gas company-led undertaking selected by DOE, and one of only three projects receiving additional funding towards a commercial demonstration project.

The department stated, “This event marks a milestone in DOE’s ICCS program: progressing beyond research and development to a demonstration scale that can be readily replicated and deployed into commercial practice within the industry. Goals of the ICCS program are to mitigate climate change through carbon capture, utilization and storage; create jobs; and position the United States as a world leader in carbon-capture technologies.”

With Phase One on-stream and considered a watershed moment, the attention now turns to Phase Two of the project – which will involve a second Air Products SMR at the site.

Phase Two is scheduled to be on-stream in April 2013, as Wilbur Mok, vice-president of North America Tonnage Gases for Air Products, explained, “We have successfully launched Phase One and would like to congratulate all of our project collaborators on the achievement. We are now focused on getting Phase Two on-stream and completing the project as designed.”

“This novel and technology-leading project would not have occurred without the support and involvement of DOE.”