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Air Products launches Hydrogen Services business

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

In response to increasing customer demand, Air Products has launched a Hydrogen Services Business as part of the company's Customer Plant Support organisation. The new Hydrogen Services business formalises something Air Products has been doing for decades – employing the company's operational excellence to help customers improve the reliability and productivity of their own hydrogen plants.

“Air Products has been reactively providing service on customer-owned hydrogen plants for more than 30 years," said Kevin Michaelis, Vice President, Products and Technology–Industrial Gases, at Air Products. "We have seen such market pull that we are proactively packaging our technical knowledge and experience into an offering that can help customers run their hydrogen plants more effectively, as well as solve operational issues."

The new Hydrogen Services business is already helping customers with inquiries such as producing more or less hydrogen from steam methane reformers, planning SMR turnarounds, solving mechanical integrity issues, feedstock changes, pressure swing adsorber revamps, and improving energy efficiency.

"With our extensive operating experience, chances are very good that we have already seen and solved the issues that our customers are experiencing with their own hydrogen plants," said Scott Siegmund, Global Manager, Customer Plant Support, at Air Products. "Whether our customers need know-how, elbow grease, or both, engaging Air Products' Hydrogen Services Business allows them to focus on their area of expertise while we focus on ours – operational excellence in hydrogen production."

For example, a refiner in North America who was experiencing operating issues with its SMR looked to Air Products for help to increase throughput and improve energy efficiency. Following a detailed plant assessment, operational changes performed on site, and a performance test, Air Products helped the customer increase hydrogen capacity by 20% and improve hydrogen plant efficiency by more than 10%.

In Southeast Asia, a chemicals customer turned to Air Products for help in producing an additional 50% of hydrogen. Since a new plant was not cost effective or feasible due to time constraints, Air Products developed an innovative plant expansion scheme that was cost effective with a shortened schedule. The existing hydrogen plant reforming capacity and final hydrogen product purification sections were creatively de-bottlenecked and integrated without requiring an extended revamp of the reformer furnace or pressure swing adsorption unit, enabling the plant to successfully achieve its expansion capacity ahead of schedule.

In Europe, Air Products exceeded a refiner's expectations when they requested help to turndown hydrogen plant operation below the designed turndown rate due to market conditions. Air Products not only achieved the requested turndown operation of the hydrogen plant safely and reliably, but also converted the hydrogen plant feedstock from expensive butane to less costly natural gas. The feedstock conversion was simple and cost effective, requiring minimal retrofit equipment.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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