From air separation units (ASUs) to small plant technologies and the increasing uprising in the hydrogen economy, industrial gas projects continue to proliferate globally, in various configurations and capacities.

Various ASU projects were either completed or announced in a number of regional markets last year, and further capacity additions are expected to be realised in 2017. Here are some of gasworld’s highlights of global project developments in the next 12 months.

Part 1 focuses on the Americas region.

Brazil

Through its Brazilian subsidiary White Martins, Praxair, Inc. will bring a new oxygen plant on-stream in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil in late 2017.

The plant is being built as part of a long-term oxygen supply agreement with the world’s largest producer of eucalyptus pulp, Fibria Celulose S/A. Praxair will build a new plant in order to supply Fibria with an additional 160 tonnes per day (tpd) of oxygen; this will help to increase Fibria’s global annual production capacity of 5.3 million tonnes of eucalyptus pulp to 7.25 million tonnes.

Speaking at the time of the new plant’s announcement last year, gasworld Business Analyst Toby Pimlott commented, “This new plant is a further example of the company’s expansion strategy in the South American country, which has seen new plants being consistently commissioned over the past five years.”

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Canada

Air Liquide Canada is expected to complete an upgrade to an air separation unit (ASU) in Hamilton, Ontario in April 2017, in response to greater demand for oxygen, nitrogen, and argon from ArcelorMittal Dofasco and other customers in the region. The upgrade began in September 2016 and follows the successful construction in 2015 of a new oxygen pipeline between Air Liquide’s Hamilton production facility and ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

A new carbon capture unit will be commissioned at a pulp mill in Québec by the end of 2017, the result of a three-way partnership between CO2 Solutions, Fibrek General Partnership and Serres Toundra Inc. The $7.4m project aims to minimise the companies’ carbon footprint by commercially reusing the captured carbon dioxide (CO2). The unit is being designed and constructed by CO2 solutions and will capture up to 30 tonnes of CO2 per day from Resolute’s softwood kraft pulp mill in Saint-Félicien, which will then be transported and reused in Serres Toundra’s neigbouring vegetable greenhouse.

US

Air Liquide is expected to bring a state-of-the-art, energy efficient ASU producing oxygen, nitrogen and argon on-stream by the second half of 2017, as part of a gas supply contract with Yuhuang Chemical, Inc. for its new world-scale manufacturing complex in St. James Parish, Louisiana.

The new Yuhuang Chemical methanol manufacturing complex will produce approximately 5,000 tonnes of methanol per day, making it one of the largest methanol production facilities in the US based on capacity. Air Liquide will supply Yuhuang Chemical with 2,400 tpd of oxygen.

Air Liquide is also expected to bring its first four publicly-open hydrogen fuelling stations in the Northeastern US online early in 2017, opening the stations in Hartford (Connecticut), Braintree and Mansfield (Massachusetts), and Bronx (New York). Hydrogen supplied by Air Liquide will be produced off-site.

Meanwhile Airgas, Inc., now an Air Liquide company following its $13.4bn takeover last year, will bring on-stream a new ASU in Alabama by spring 2017. The ASU will supply tonnage oxygen, nitrogen and argon via pipeline to Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc. at its steel manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama under a long-term contract between the two companies. In addition to supplying Nucor Corporation, the large-scale ASU will also expand Airgas’ merchant gas presence in the region overall.

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Praxair brings multiple sites into action across the US in the year ahead. The company will begin operations at a new 1,650 tpd ASU in Detroit, Michigan in 2017, with the added capacity planned to meet the growing demand for industrial gases from customers across the region – as well as rare gases customers worldwide. Praxair will also build, own and operate a new ASU in South Carolina in the year ahead, under a long-term contract to provide nitrogen to Toray Carbon Fibers America, Inc. for use in manufacturing carbon fibre at its new Spartanburg County in South Carolina. The carbon fibre will be used by aerospace, automotive, sporting goods, and other manufacturing customers regionally and internationally.

Plant capacity will also be expanded in Salt Lake City, Utah, where Praxair is upgrading its ASU capabilities to meet demand in the region in 2017. A new liquefier will be added, which will nearly  double the production of both liquid nitrogen and liquid oxygen, with the project set to be complete in the first quarter.

And Praxair further fortifies its position in the Eastern US CO2 market this year after signing a long-term contract to purchase by-product CO2 from leading industrial blasting products and services provider, US Nitrogen LLC. The company will build, own and operate a new CO2 purification and liquefaction facility in the Eastern region of the US, this time at US Nitrogen’s ammonia plant in Tennessee, set for start-up towards the end of 2017. When complete, Praxair will own a total of seven sites of this kind throughout Eastern US. According to gasworld Business Intelligence, the CO2 market in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the US generated revenues of approximately $940m in 2014. In the same year, over 70% of CO2 volumes was delivered as bulk liquid CO2, with the food and beverage industry being the largest consumer in both regions.

US manufacturing concept

MATHESON brings a state-of-the-art large capacity ASU on-stream in Los Angeles, California in 2017, producing high-purity merchant product for a range of end-user markets in the area, including aerospace, electronics, environmental, fabrication, food, medical and metals applications. The added capacity is intended to meet the growth in the Los Angeles and San Diego areas over the upcoming 5-7 years.

Yara International ASA and BASF broke ground on a new world-scale ammonia plant at the BASF site in Freeport, Texas in July 2015, a facility that is scheduled to come online in 2017. Praxair will supply around 170 million standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen and 2,000 tons per day of nitrogen to the new complex, from its own Gulf Coast pipeline system extensions that were expected to be in operation in 2016 and supplying product to the complex in late 2017.

Technip completes work on a grassroots hydrogen plant in Laurel, Montana this year, producing 40,000 normal cubic meters per hour of hydrogen for CHS Inc., a US-based global agribusiness, at its refinery in Laurel.

And Air Products and Kiewit Energy Company will advance work on a single production train capable of producing approximately 235,000 GPD of LNG for an LNG peak shaver facility in the US in the year ahead. The two companies are collaborating to pursue smaller-sized LNG projects in North America, and Air Products’ supplied LNG technology and equipment for this project is to be operational in 2017.