Praxair is building a new steam methane reformer to increase the supply of hydrogen for its liquid hydrogen plant in Niagara Falls, New York, the company announced on Monday.

This investment will not only retain 78 jobs, but also serve growing customer needs for hydrogen in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the US and southeastern Canada. 

Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, will provide a $1m capital grant to assist the company with its facility and equipment investment. 

“Praxair is making this investment in response to growing customer requirements and the development of new applications,” said Jeff Barnhard, vice president of Praxair’s industrial gases business in the US East region. “Additionally, this investment further diversifies our sources of hydrogen and results in distribution savings.” 

“Praxair helps companies improve their environmental performance by developing and embracing the technologies needed to make plants operate more cleanly and efficiently,” added Empire State Development CEO Kenneth Adams. “We are proud to support Praxair as it expands its business and creates and retains jobs in New York State.” 

Liquid hydrogen is delivered by customised trucks to customers in a wide range of industries, including the manufacturing of metals, lubricants, glass, liquid fuels, solar technology, chemicals and food products. 

When complete in 2015, Praxair’s Niagara Falls liquid hydrogen production capacity will increase by 50%.