Uhde India Limited (Mumbai) and Praxair India have begun construction on a hydrogen plant at Paradip in Orissa, on India’s eastern coast, scheduled for commissioning in early 2012.

The announcement follows the news that Uhde and Praxair had signed a global hydrogen alliance agreement in December 2009. Just a month before, Praxair India also won a contract to supply nitrogen and hydrogen gases to Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) upcoming refinery in Paradip.

Praxair India will operate the hydrogen facility once it is commissioned, and it is understood from a statement on Uhde’s website that construction of the plant is already underway. The hydrogen produced will be supplied to India's national oil company, the IOC, which is constructing the aforementioned 300,000 barrel-per-day refinery in Paradip.

Phase I of the refinery is likely to be commissioned in November 2012.

Meanwhile, the hydrogen plant will use Uhde's steam-reformer technology and has been designed to generate about 100,000 normal cubic meters per hour of hydrogen. LPG and naphtha will serve as feedstock for the plant, while Uhde India will supply the project with hydrogen on a turnkey basis.

Uhde GmbH will provide the technology, monitoring services, fundamental supplies, and necessary licenses to the project. The plant is scheduled to begin operations by the first quarter of 2012.

The new hydrogen facility is part of a global hydrogen cooperation agreement signed in December 2009 by Praxair with Uhde and its subsidiary, Uhde Corporation of America based in Pennsylvania, US.

The deal covers hydrogen production that uses the steam-reforming process and over-the-fence hydrogen supply. The main objective of constructing the new plants is to supply hydrogen to nearby refineries that produce low-sulfur fuels. The worldwide crude oil refining industry is fuelling hydrogen production because of a steady rise in demand for hydrogen.

Uhde India and Praxair India are the Indian subsidiaries of engineering company Uhde GmbH (Dortmund, Germany) and industrial gas supplier Praxair Incorporated, respectively.