Praxair is constructing a hydrogen storage facility to enable peak shaving, which will be the first of its kind in the industrial gases industry.

Located in Liberty County, Texas, the facility will utilize an underground storage cavern.

The peak-shaving system will be integrated with Praxair\\$quot;s hydrogen pipeline network, which serves customers from Texas to Louisiana. It will significantly increase the on-demand availability of hydrogen for Praxair\\$quot;s customers during periods of peak demand.

'This new facility further demonstrates our commitment to be the supplier of choice by refineries and other customers in the Gulf Coast area,' said Mark Gruninger, vice president for Praxair\\$quot;s North American Industrial Gases business unit.

The peak-shaving system will be brought on line in 2007, following the completion of a third world-scale steam-methane reformer later this year. The Gulf Coast pipeline network will then be able to supply 700 million cubic feet per day of hydrogen on a steady state basis, with peaking capacity of 800 million cubic feet per day.

Demand for Praxair\\$quot;s hydrogen on the US Gulf Coast is expected to increase by 15 per cent to 20 per cent per year through 2010 based on refiners\\$quot; needs to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations and the increasing volumes of high-sulphur crude oil being processed by refineries. Hydrogen removes sulphur from gasoline and other fuels during the refining process.