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USA: Steam Reformer Air Products Breaks Ground for World-Class SMR at Covestro’s Bayton Site

Editor: Dominik Stephan

Hydrogen specialist Air Products breaks ground for a world-scale steam methane reformer (SMR) at Covestro’s Baytown facility in Texas. The already sold-out site shall be connected to world’s largest hydrogen plant and pipeline system…

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Company executives and dignitaries break ground for new steam methane reformer to be built by Air Products at Covestro's facility in Baytown, Texas. From L to R: Chambers County Commissioner Rusty Senac; Corning Painter, Air Products’ executive vice president, Industrial Gases; Dr. Klaus Schäfer, Covestro’s chief industrial operations officer; Mayor Stephen DonCarlos; and Rod Herrick, vice president and site manager of Covestro’s Baytown facility.
Company executives and dignitaries break ground for new steam methane reformer to be built by Air Products at Covestro's facility in Baytown, Texas. From L to R: Chambers County Commissioner Rusty Senac; Corning Painter, Air Products’ executive vice president, Industrial Gases; Dr. Klaus Schäfer, Covestro’s chief industrial operations officer; Mayor Stephen DonCarlos; and Rod Herrick, vice president and site manager of Covestro’s Baytown facility.
(Picture: Air Products/Kim Christensen)

Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania/USA – AirProducts will build, own and operate a world-scale steam methane reformer (SMR) at Covestro’s petrochemical production complex in Bayttown, Texas. The US $ 350-400 million SMR shall producehydrogen and carbon monoxide(CO) to be supplied to Covestro and other customers via Air Products’ Gulf Coast Hydrogen and CO Pipeline Networks. The plant, which will start-up in 2018, is already completely sold out.

“We have worked with Covestro (formerly Bayer Material Science) for decades and look forward to being an important industrial gas supplier to them in Baytown for many more years to come. The new SMR strengthens Air Products’ position in the Texas carbon monoxide (CO) market and enhances our well established hydrogen supply network,” said Corning Painter, executive vice president, Industrial Gases at Air Products.

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The SMR and cold box will be located on land leased from Covestro, a world-leading manufacturer of high-tech polymer materials for key industries, headquartered in Leverkusen, Germany. The SMR will produce approximately 125 million standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen and a world-scale supply of carbon monoxide. Covestro products and application solutions are nearly everywhere in modern life. With its innovative strength, Covestro is constantly coming up with new developments that benefit society and the environment.

How does an SMR work?
How does an SMR work?
(Picture: Air products)

“Safe, reliable and efficient operations through our people remains extremely important at Covestro. We continually develop our people to improve safety and respect the environment, as well as optimize our processes to improve our yields to top levels in industry, which means less raw materials, less waste and higher efficiencies,” said Dr. Klaus Schäfer, Covestro’s chief industrial operations officer. “Covestro’s alignment with Air Products will further improve our Baytown site’s reliable supply to our valued customers.”

Covestro’s Baytown facility, its largest plant in North and Central America, was established in 1971 and employs a workforce of 1,100 with an additional 750 contractors. Covestro’s primary products at its Baytown site include toluene diisocyanate (TDI) and methylene diphenylene isocyanates (MDI), in addition to coatings and adhesives, inorganic basic chemicals, polycarbonates, and polyurethanes. It is a leading supplier of high-value polymers and innovative solutions for key sectors such as transportation, construction, electronics, furniture, sports equipment and textiles.

The new SMR will be built through the global hydrogen alliance between Air Products and Technip, a world leader in project management, engineering and construction. The plant will feature the latest technology to maximize energy efficiency and reduce emissions, and will include optimal heat integration, which in turn lowers feedstock consumption. The plant configuration and deployed technologies support Air Products’ overall sustainability goals of reducing energy consumption and emissions.

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