By Nick Gilbert
Airgas is set to construct a new air separation unit in Chicago. Production at the new facility is expected to commence in 2014. The air separation unit will generate nitrogen, oxygen and argon.
The primary reasons cited for construction of the new facility are the rising demand for merchant gases in the Chicago area and fostering growth in their core business in the Midwest region. The proposed air separation unit in Chicago will be capable of generating a daily supply of 400 tons of nitrogen, argon and oxygen.
Airgas is considered to be the largest provider of specialty, industrial and medical gases in the United States. The company operates 16 air separation units throughout United States to provide supply of nitrogen, oxygen and argon in bulk.
In North America, Airgas is pegged as the fifth largest provider of atmospheric gases. Michael Molinini, President and Chief Executive Officer at Airgas, expects the trend of strong growth in atmospheric gases market in the Midwest region to sustain. According to him, this is the right time to ramp up Airgas’ production capabilities to capitalize on the rising demand for merchant gas in the Midwest.
Tom Thoman, President of the Gases division of Airgas, stated that the new air separation unit will operate within the company’s Merchant Gases business unit owing to their established capabilities to operate the manufacturing facility. The Airgas Merchant Gases division was responsible for the commissioning of the last air separation unit set up by Airgas in Clarksville, Tennessee. The plant commenced operations in May 2012.