Air Liquide and integrated energy and chemical company Sasol have today officially inaugurated the world’s largest oxygen (O2) production plant in South Africa.

Sasol’s joint President and CEO Bongani Nqwababa welcomed guests from South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs, Air Liquide, Mpumalanga Provincial Government, Govan Mbeki Local Municipality and the Embassy of France in South Africa.

In early 2015, Air Liquide and Sasol signed an agreement under which Air Liquide would invest around €200m for the construction of this Air Separation Unit (ASU), located in Sasol’s Secunda site (around 140km East of Johannesburg). The ASU has a total production capacity of 5,000 tonnes of O2 per day (equivalent to 5,800 tonnes per day at sea level), a milestone in the history of industrial gas production.

Owned and operated by Air Liquide, it is the first ASU that Sasol has chosen to outsource to a specialist of industrial gas production at this site. The O2 provided by the Tier One company will be used by Sasol for the production of synthetic fuels.

Speaking at the event today, South Africa’s Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa said, “The occasion marks one of the great strides in our ongoing efforts as a country to encourage both local and international investments to grow the economy, and ultimately improve the lives of South Africans.”

“We would like to congratulate Air Liquide and Sasol on this partnership, which we understand goes back several decades. The partnership demonstrates the confidence by Air Liquid and Sasol in South Africa and is important in contributing to our industrialisation objectives and economic development in the area.”

“I have been reliably informed that this new ASU uses 20% less electricity which equates to avoiding approximately 200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per annum.”

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Source: Department of Environmental Affairs