Praxair Starts Up Hydrogen PlantDan Heilman | October 10, 2016
Industrial gas company Praxair Inc. has started up a hydrogen plant in Peru for Repsol, one of the world’s largest producers of hydrocarbon fuels and petrochemicals. The 12-million-standard-cubic-feet-per-day steam methane reformer (SMR) is located at Repsol’s La Pampilla Refinery in Callao, near Lima. A new Praxair facility adjacent to the hydrogen plant will recover and purify carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by the SMR for the production of food-grade liquid CO2.
The La Pampilla refinery produces gasoline, liquefied petroleum gas, jet fuel, kerosene, diesel and asphalts, among other products. The Repsol refinery produces low-sulfur diesel fuel that is used to serve customers locally.
Praxair didn’t disclose the budget of the Peruvian hydrogen plant or what it would cost to produce hydrogen there. Research cited by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicates that the long-term station capital costs for onsite steam methane reformer stations are in the range of $2,000–$3,400 per kilogram (kg) per day of station capacity, with the higher end reflecting reduced scale production associated with smaller stations.
Steam methane reforming is the most common method of producing commercial bulk hydrogen, which is used in the industrial synthesis of ammonia and other chemicals. At high temperatures and in the presence of a metal-based catalyst such as nickel, steam reacts with methane to yield carbon monoxide and hydrogen.
In 2015 Praxair bought Tecnogas, a Peru-based producer and distributor of carbon dioxide and industrial gases. It is using three carbon dioxide production plants to help meet the growing demand for the gas in the country.
Praxair’s products in its industrial gases business include atmospheric gases (oxygen, nitrogen, argon and rare gases) and process gases (carbon dioxide, helium, hydrogen, electronic gases, specialty gases and acetylene). It also designs, engineers and manufactures equipment that produces industrial gases primarily for internal use.