Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX), Danbury, CT, has started up a 135 million standard cubic feet per day hydrogen plant serving the Valero refinery in Port Arthur, TX, and other customers.
The new plant houses the largest steam methane reformer Praxair has built to date to supply hydrogen and up to 450,000 pounds per hour of steam to Valero’s new 57,000 barrels-per-day hydrocracker. Hydrocrackers are used to break down hydrocarbon molecules in heavier crude oil to produce premium transportation fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuels, that burn cleaner and are in strong demand globally. The process produces 1.2 barrels of high-value, low-sulfur products for each barrel of high-sulfur feedstock.
The new Port Arthur SMR is connected to Praxair’s existing 750 million scfd Gulf Coast pipeline network. The network includes a unique 2.5 billion scf high-purity hydrogen storage cavern that provides additional supply reliability for Praxair customers along the pipeline.
“This project represents a significant investment in hydrogen supply for Praxair’s customers along the Gulf Coast,” said Mike Jordan, vice president, U.S. Hydrogen. “And with the completion of a similar plant with pipeline expansion in Louisiana this year, we will enhance competitive supply options for the lower Mississippi River corridor as well.”
Praxair operates more than 50 hydrogen production facilities and seven hydrogen pipeline systems globally. The company appears on MDM’s 2013 list of the top gases and welding equipment distributors.