Air Products' Hydrogen Plant, Louisiana, United States of America

Air Products announced that it has entered into a long-term supply agreement with Monsanto Company for the construction of a new hydrogen production plant in October 2009.

The plant was built at Monsanto's facility in Luling, Louisiana, and is used for the manufacture of the herbicide Roundup which helps to kill weeds without damaging crops.

The new facility helps Monsanto serve its main customers, the farmers, in a more environmentally friendly way, and achieve its aim of decreasing energy consumption and emissions.

Air Products hydrogen plant project

The new plant creates a mutually dependent relationship for Air Products, which is currently the largest hydrogen provider in the world, and the Missouri-based agrochemical company Monsanto.

Air Products purchases hydrogen produced by Monsanto's production process, and in turn Monsanto purchases the steam produced by Air Products' manufacturing process.

The new production plant came on-stream in October 2012.

"The steam methane reformer at the Luling facility produces approximately 100 million standard cubic feet of hydrogen a day."

Air Products constructed a steam methane reformer (SMR) at the Luling facility as part of the agreement with Monsanto, which produces around 100 million standard cubic feet of hydrogen a day.

The facility also yields extra hydrogen through the clean-up of an off-gas feed released from Monsanto's facility. The off-gas feed is rich in hydrogen, resulting in the production of additional quantities of the gas.

The SMR is linked to Air Products' East Gulf Coast pipeline network, which consists of 15 hydrogen production source points and extends to around 175 miles from Baton Rouge to Chalmette Louisiana.

It provides refineries with the hydrogen needed to produce cleaner-burning transportation fuel,s and also meets the requirements of the local petrochemical industry.

Steam methane reformer (SMR) technology

The SMR technology at the new hydrogen plant optimises the energy efficiency of the Monsanto site, and helps reduce carbon and other emissions.

Air Products has made many technological enhancements to its SMR design, including the reduction of heat loss to the environment, which also cuts down the amount of natural gas needed to create hydrogen in the first instance.

Hydrogen plant contractors

The new hydrogen production plant was built by Technip. Air Products and Technip have together constructed more than 29 hydrogen production facilities across the world since 1992 as part of a global alliance.

"The hydrogen plant's SMR is linked to Air Products’ East Gulf Coast pipeline network."

The two companies have provided the global refining industry with state-of-the-art technology as a result of the co-operation.

Technip dealt with the design and construction of the steam reformers, while Air Products provided gas separation technology and the initial capital outlay for the hydrogen plant.

Air Products and Technip construct the hydrogen plants in such a way that the unit cost of hydrogen production is lower. This is achieved through site-specific integration, implementation of value-added solutions, and optimum plant operation and maintenance.

These measures translate into lower costs and increased savings.

Air Products operates and maintains plants under long-term contracts signed with clients, ranging from 15 to 20 years.

Louisiana hydrogen plant background

Air Products' Louisiana facility is one of many in a series of plants being executed by the firm. The company also completed the construction of a hydrogen production plant at Garyville for Marathon Oil Refinery, while another hydrogen production plant located in Baton Rouge also came on-stream in 2010.

The new facilities improved the reliability of Air Products' East Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline network.

Hydrogen produced at the site is available at pressures ranging between 250psig and 2,000psig.