Praxair China has revealed that it is to build a nitrogen plant and integrate its patented direct-injection technology at Marcegaglia’s new steel-tube mill in Yangzhou, Jiangsu Province, China under a 15-year agreement with the company.

The mill will produce up to 350,000 tons per year of stainless, carbon precision and cold drawn steel tubes used in the construction, appliance, engineering-component and energy markets. Phase 1 of the project is scheduled to start up in June 2010 and Phase 2 in 2011.

Praxair’s plant will have a capacity of around 100 tons per day of nitrogen. Praxair’s direct-injection technology uses the nitrogen, together with fuel gas, to generate a precise atmosphere during the heat-treating phase of steel production, resulting in enhanced product quality.

Currently, Praxair’s direct-injection technology is operating successfully at a Marcegaglia mill in Italy.

“This project demonstrates how Praxair is able to transfer world-class technology around the globe for the benefit of our customers,” said Joe Cappello, President of Praxair Asia.

Marcegaglia SpA, a privately held company based in Montova, Italy, is a leading global steel processor with an annual output of 5.3 million tons and sales of $6bn