Air Products , the worldwide leader in production of gas separation and purification membranes, today announced plans to construct a new production facility in St. Charles, Missouri to increase manufacturing capacity of its full line of PRISM® membrane products.
The new facility will increase Air Products' membrane output by over 50 percent. It will provide for state-of-the-art hollow fiber production and module assembly technology across the full range of multiple PRISM membrane offerings. The new plant is to be on-stream in early 2010.
"This new facility will ensure our ability to meet the strong demand for high performance membranes. Membrane technology is being used increasingly in new and growing applications, and we will be positioned to meet that need with facilities capable of producing multiple size membrane product offerings," said George Lewis, global business manager, Equipment Sales at Air Products. Air Products will continue to operate its current PRISM® membrane production plant in St. Louis, which opened in 1984 and was expanded several times, most recently in 2007. "Locating near our existing facility will allow us to leverage our skilled workforce and know-how to bring the facility into full production more quickly and efficiently. We appreciate the support of both the City of St. Charles and the Missouri Department of Economic Development in helping to make this project a reality," Lewis added.
Membrane technology is used to separate and purify gases. Membrane modules contain thousands of hollow fibers to provide high processing capacity in a compact unit. Membranes are often used to produce nitrogen from compressed air; for hydrogen recovery and purification; for ratio adjustment to balance a mix of gases; air and gas dehydration to remove water, which can impact compressed gas performance; and natural gas treatment for removal of impurities. "The ability for membranes to separate gases by taking advantage of the differing permeability and solubility rates in feed gases, and do so in a highly reliable lightweight system, with few moving parts and to be able to operate in constrained spaces, makes membrane technology attractive for many applications," said Lewis.
Nitrogen membrane demand is driven by product needs from the chemical production, food processing, liquefied natural gas, oil and gas, transportation and mining industries. Hydrogen membranes are used in chemical, refining, and biofuels processes. Dehydration membranes are used in compressed air systems and for high pressure requirements such as for natural gas dehydration. Air Products' PRISM membranes have been used to produce gases to inert fuel tanks aboard aircraft, for use in coal mine methane recovery operations in China, to enrich oxygen for passengers on the world's longest and highest highland railway, the Qinghai-Tibet railway, and to produce nitrogen for blanketing chemical, methanol and liquefied gas shipments around the globe.