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Air Separation

Chris Alsop

Director, Air Separation Unit Product Line

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We continue to push the boundaries of air separation by developing new techniques and technologies that advance safety, efficiency and sustainability in both our operations and the operations of our customers.

Delivering World-scale Air Separation Plants

Our leadership in supplying large-scale cryogenic oxygen plants to the gasification industry has led to Air Products' position as a premier gasification company. In Jazan, Saudi Arabia, we built six air separation units that will supply over 75,000 tons per day (TPD) of oxygen and nitrogen to an integrated gasification and combined cycle (IGCC) complex. These mega plants are specially designed with the latest technology to safely and reliably supply the IGCC complex with oxygen for gasification and nitrogen as diluent for the combined cycle units.

We also will build two large air separation trains as part of a contract to supply syngas for a multi-billion-dollar mono-ethylene glycol project in Hohhot, China that mark the next generation of oxygen production for gasification. A patent-pending, new process cycle will minimize steam consumption while preserving operating flexibility, and an advanced form of radial flow temperature swing adsorption will purify the air before entering the cryogenic area of the process. This technology delivers lower pressure drop than alternatives, further reducing energy consumption while minimizing footprint.

As the market moves to larger train sizes to supply oxygen to mega gasification projects, Air Products continues to push the boundaries and build on our track record of successful large-scale oxygen plants.

Providing a Safer and Sustainable Energy Solution 

The Netherlands has long sourced natural gas from its domestic Groningen Field, however, that extraction has resulted in seismic activity, which now requires a switch to imported gas. Since imported natural gas is incompatible with the applications currently served by the Groningen source, N.V. Nederlandse Gasunie selected Air Products to supply three specialized nitrogen generator units that will be used to condition imported natural gas.

On-stream in 2021, these nitrogen generators will be among the most energy efficient ever constructed, reducing carbon dioxide emissions an estimated 21,000 tons per year compared to previous technology. This is made possible by a new process design and improvements in compression efficiency. In addition, the air separation units are designed to quickly ramp production from a cold start to closely match gas demand and further reduce energy consumption.  

"Our selection points to our record of expertise in air separation," said Paul Hoogeveen, general manager-Rotterdam Tonnage at Air Products. "Time and experience have taught us how to get the best out of the cryogenic air separation process, both in terms of safety and high efficiency." 

World-scale Industrial Gas Turboexpander Capabilities

As both a manufacturer and operator of turbomachinery, Rotoflow brings a new level of expertise to the design, build, and support of mission-critical turbomachinery. We offer a wide range of expanders for air separation plants, from small modularized units to full-scale cryogenic systems. As a leader in the industry, our proven designs have millions of successful hours of operation, with MTBF of more than 20 years. 

Staying One Step Ahead of the Electronics Industry

Growth in pure silicon crystal manufacture has led to an increase in high-purity argon requirements for the semiconductor industry. When this trend emerged, Air Products stayed ahead of the curve by developing a world-scale TN LAR air separation plant.

The TN LAR plant design uses a proprietary purification technology integrated with the air-drying system to deliver ultra-high purity nitrogen and argon. The plant also features a proprietary new distillation column packing that is 15% more efficient than previous standards and employs a flexible, cost-effective cryogenic expander that operates across a wider range of speeds and operation conditions. The combined innovations of the TN LAR air separation plant provide the high reliability required by the electronics industry along with schedules that can deliver ultra-high purity gas to new fabs well before their ramp up schedules demand. 

"The semiconductor industry demands speed, reliability and flexibility to meet its challenging requirements," said Chris Alsop, director of the Air Separation Unit Product Line at Air Products. "We must consistently innovate and deliver for our customers in this industry to achieve the success we have with plants like the TN LAR."

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