Praxair China, a subsidiary of Praxair Inc., has announced that it has successfully started up its large air separation plant for Jiangsu SOPO (Group) Co., Ltd., located in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu Province, northwest of Shanghai, and is supplying gases to the customer.

This large plant supplies industrial gas for the 600,000 tpy acetic acid plant of SOPO, the largest acetic acid producer in China with a 30% market share.

Acetic acid is widely used in the production of adhesives, textiles, paint, paper, polyester fibre and plastic bottles.

Following the contract signing with SOPO in early 2007, Praxair China designed and constructed the plant with a state-of-the-art, large air separation unit (ASU).

The ASU has a capacity of 3,000 tons of oxygen per day and is the largest single plant for sale of gas, as well as the largest single-train ASU in Asia to date.

The plant is integrated with a modern, low-cost coal-gasification process for SOPO's acetic acid plant. Integrating oxygen into the coal gasification process allows Praxair to share its technology in advanced control systems and systems integration.

“The successful startup of our plant at SOPO is a powerful demonstration of our capability as a world-class supplier to build large plants and our commitment to high-quality products and service,” said David Chow, President of Praxair China.

Chow added that Praxair will also be constructing another 3,000 tons of oxygen per day plant for a similar gasification application for HuaYi in Wuwei, Anhui province. This plant is due to begin operation in early 2011.