Airgas announced today that the Prologis International Centre South in Minooka, Illinois, will be the site for its new air separation unit (ASU) in the Chicago area.

Construction of the facility, located in Grundy County near the junction of I-80 and I-55, is scheduled to begin in February 2014 and be finished by July 2015.

The ASU will produce more than 450 tonnes per day of oxygen, nitrogen and argon, with production expected to begin in summer 2015.

“The market for atmospheric gases in the Midwest is expected to be strong for years to come,” said Michael Molinini, Airgas President and Chief Executive Officer. “Increasing our production capabilities in the Chicago area will enhance our gas supply chain and ensure long-term reliability of supply for merchant gas customers in the region.”

The company first announced its plans to build a new ASU in the Chicago area in September 2012.

“We worked closely with representatives of the state of Illinois and the village of Minooka in determining the best location for our new ASU,” said Tom Thoman, Airgas Division President - Gases Production. “We are excited to be a part of the Minooka community.”

Airgas qualified for tax credits under Illinois’ Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, or EDGE, administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

“We are happy to assist Airgas with its significant expansion in Illinois,” said Adam Pollet, Director of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “Airgas joins a growing list of companies that have responded to the innate strengths of the state’s business climate, including its top-notch work force, its excellent transportation network and the ‘can-do’ attitude of local communities.” The new Airgas ASU will result in the creation of 26 jobs in the Minooka area.

Airgas also considered sites in New Carlisle, Indiana, and Waukesha, Wisconsin as locations for the new construction.

The new plant will be managed by Airgas Merchant Gases, the Airgas company which currently manages Airgas’ network of ASUs, procurement and supplier relationships, and the logistics and distribution of bulk atmospheric and other gases. As one of the nation’s largest suppliers of industrial, specialty, and medical gases, Airgas provides bulk gas supply of oxygen, nitrogen and argon through its 16 air separation units nationwide, making Airgas the nation’s fifth largest producer of atmospheric gases.

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).