Airgas plans new Chicago industrial gases plant

Airgas on Thursday announced plans to build a new air separation unit (ASU) in the Chicago area, citing increasing demand for merchant gases in the region.

The ASU, which will produce oxygen, nitrogen, and argon, is expected to begin production in the fall of 2014.

“The market for atmospheric gases is very strong in the Midwest and we fully expect it to continue,” said Michael Molinini, Airgas CEO.

“Because of increased demand, now is the right time to add to our production capabilities in order to meet the merchant gas needs of customers in the Midwest.”

As the largest US supplier of industrial, specialty, and medical gases, Airgas currently provides bulk gas supply of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon through its 16 air separation units nationwide, the company says.

The proposed Airgas plant in the Chicago area will produce more than 400 tpd of oxygen, nitrogen, and argon.

“We will operate the new plant within our Airgas Merchant Gases business unit, which has the proven expertise to run the production plant,” said Tom Thoman, gases division president for Airgas.

“Airgas Merchant Gases has an excellent track record managing our network of air separation plants, our procurement and supplier relationships, and the logistics and distribution of atmospheric gases.”

The business unit recently commissioned Airgas’ newest ASU in Clarksville, Tennessee, which began producing atmospheric gases in May of this year.

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