Air Liquide and Covestro in Hydrogen Pact
Air Liquide has signed a long-term contract to supply hydrogen to Covestro’s production site in the port area of Antwerp, Belgium. The French industrial gases group will invest €80 million to build a new generation steam methane reformer, SMR-X, based upon its proprietary technology.
The hydrogen output will be used by Covestro to produce aniline, a base chemical used to make polyurethanes, and also by Air Liquide to supply customers in the Antwerp industrial area. The reformer is expected to start operation in 2020.
Air Liquide said the next generation unit has enhanced energy efficiency and a reduced carbon footprint. Overall natural gas consumption to produce hydrogen as well as CO2 emissions will be around 5% lower compared to a conventional steam methane reformer.
Covestro will capture part of the CO2 generated during production and will use it as a feedstock in its production process.
“Thanks to this new investment, not only will a reliable and flexible supply of raw materials to our site be guaranteed, but also the new facility and its capacities could open up new perspectives for our Antwerp site, said Volker Weintritt, managing director of Covestro in Antwerp.
In February, Air Liquide announced it had recently started the world’s largest oxygen production unit for South Africa’s Sasol. The French company invested around €200 million to build the air separation unit in Secunda, which produces 5,000 t/day of oxygen for manufacturing fuels and chemicals.