Air Products has signed a contract with ArcelorMittal to supply three PRISM® PHG100 hydrogen gas generators (PHG) and a high-purity PRISM® GN700 nitrogen generator for their Saint Chély d’Apcher plant in Southern France.

ArcelorMittal awarded the contract on the strength of Air Products’ 50 years of experience and management expertise in this industry, along with the modular design and proven reliability of the equipment. The plant is now fully operational. 

Air Products, a global leader in the supply and on-site production of hydrogen, has developed a range of compact and low- to medium-capacity steam methane reformers (SMR). The Air Products SMR technology converts steam and lighter hydrocarbons, such as methane, into hydrogen and carbon monoxide efficiently and economically. Additionally, the PRISM PHGs have a number of positive benefits. They provide an alternative source of industrial gas supply to trailers (bulk hydrogen) for supply to customers in remote locations. They also reduce logistics costs and, as a result, the carbon footprint associated with regular truck rotations while preventing supply disruption.

As the ArcelorMittal Saint Chély d’Apcher plant is not suited for the storage of large amounts of gaseous hydrogen, Air Products’ on-site modular concept of three hydrogen generators provides a favourable alternative solution. The system has been designed to operate at the required capacity even when one of the generators is offline, hence the remaining modules and backup storage ensure uninterrupted service. The installation is reliable as well as flexible because each generator can operate at 50% capacity, therefore offering flow rates from 50 Nm3/h to 300 Nm3/h.

In addition to hydrogen, Air Products also supplies the plant’s nitrogen requirements through a PRISM® cryogenic generator using a unique technology of distillation to produce high-purity nitrogen. To ensure continuous supply of the gas, two nitrogen backup storage tanks and four vaporisers have been installed to support the generator. 

Both hydrogen and nitrogen are used in the annealing line of Saint Chély d’Apcher’s plant to produce non-grain-oriented electrical steels which, among other uses, are used in electric engines and wind turbines. This solution does not only increase ArcelorMittal’s production of high-value steel products, but also contributes to lower carbon dioxide emissions at the plant.

Additionally, Air Products’ robust on-site concept allows significant savings to ArcelorMittal by improving plant operation and reducing start-up time. Air Products performs the design, fabrication, installation, technical support, and telemetry service of the equipment. The entire system is operated through Air Products’ Operating Service Centre (OSC) in France, where experienced OSC operators monitor critical metrics 24/7 to ensure the plant is operating smoothly and safely, as well as maintenance requirements are clearly identified.