Praxair starts operations at new hydrogen plant to supply US Gulf refiners

Praxair on Monday started up its new 135 million standard cubic feet/day (scfd) hydrogen plant serving the Valero refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, as well as other regional customers.

The new plant houses the largest steam methane reformer (SMR) built by Praxair to date. It will supply hydrogen and up to 450,000 lb/hour of steam to Valero’s new 57,000 bpd 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 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 of Praxair's hydrogen business in the US. “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, allowing refinery customers to use Praxair's portfolio of large-volume industrial gases, cylinder gases and specialized refinery technologies and services.

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