Air Products to raise LNG heat exchanger capacity with new Florida plant

Air Products plans to expand its LNG heat exchanger capacity by building a second manufacturing facility at a new location in Manatee County, Florida, the company said on Thursday.

The location's access to port services will facilitate global shipping of the equipment and also allow Air Products to build even larger LNG heat exchangers, as demanded by the market, the company said.

"The number of potential LNG projects in the pipeline is at an all-time high due to the strong demand for cleaner fuels in growing economies worldwide,” said Jim Solomon, director of LNG at Air Products.

“Additionally, several of the projects on the horizon will require the largest heat exchangers we have ever built, and the new location does not face the same shipping constraints of our current location. We believe the site we have selected in Florida offers exactly what we need.”

The new 300,000 square foot LNG manufacturing facility, which will employ approximately 250 employees in a four year ramp-up period, is to be complete and begin operations in late 2013.

Air Products has constructed LNG heat exchangers, which may be as large as 16.5 feet (5.0 meters) in diameter, 180 feet (55 meters) long, and weigh as much as 500 tons, at its existing facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, for over 45 years

"Our technology's reputation was built on the work conducted and LNG heat exchangers manufactured at Wilkes-Barre,” said McLauchlin.

“Due to the various constraints in the shipping process for the even larger heat exchangers that are required to satisfy the capacities forecasted to be required by customers, we needed to remove these constraints to remain globally competitive in this technology.

“We intend to operate both facilities for the foreseeable future in order to meet the forecasted customer demand for LNG heat exchangers of all sizes.”

The LNG process technology, in place at some of the most remote locations around the world, takes natural gas that is essentially a stranded valuable resource, and unlocks it by liquefying it and making it possible to economically ship it around the world, the company explained.

The LNG is eventually re-gasified for energy use.

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