Air Products (NYSE: APD) announced plans to build a new world-scale air separation unit (ASU) at its La Porte, Texas industrial gases facility. The energy efficient ASU will replace older assets at the site and provide benefits to customers through higher-reliability pipeline oxygen and nitrogen supply, and enhanced production of merchant and electronics products including argon and xenon. The new ASU is to be on-stream in October 2011.
"This world-scale ASU at La Porte will serve customers across Air Products' three major business areas of Tonnage Gases, Merchant Gases and Electronics and increase supply security and reliability. It will deliver significant productivity gains through decreased energy consumption and operating costs and supports the company's sustainability goals," said Stephen Jones, senior vice president and general manager-Tonnage Gases, Equipment and Energy at Air Products.
The new La Porte ASU will ensure the long-term operational viability and customer supply security of one of Air Products' key liquid argon sources for the North American market. Argon is used primarily for welding, electronics, steel and metals processing applications. The plant also will expand Air Products' xenon production capacity and improve customer supply security and reliability. Xenon continues to grow as a key material used in the etching steps of semiconductor manufacturing, and the additional volume will support growth in the emerging technologies of plasma display and other lighting applications which depend on xenon's special properties.
The La Porte ASU is part of Air Products' extensive Gulf Coast network of industrial gas facilities, pipelines and distribution assets. In addition to its oxygen, nitrogen and argon businesses, Air Products has the leading hydrogen position in the region comprised of numerous production facilities and over 450 miles of pipelines reaching from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana, and from the city of Plaquemine, Louisiana to Chalmette, east of New Orleans.