Air Liquide opens new steam methane reformer facility in TexasApril 29, 2012
Facility to produce hydrogen gas from methane
Air Liquide, a producer of industrial gasses, such as hydrogen and methane, has officially opened a new steam methane reformer (SMR) facility in La Porte, Texas. The facility makes use of an SMR device, which can produce hydrogen gas. Though hydrogen has become a popular form of alternative energy, the gas produced at the facility will not be used as part of a fuel cell energy system. Instead, the gas will be used as part of a system that is meant to make fossil-fuels cleaner.
SMR device can produce large amounts of hydrogen gas
The SMR device is very similar to a fuel cell in that it can produce gases through chemical processes powered by catalysts. In this instance, the device derives hydrogen gas from methane through chemical synthesis. The hydrogen gas produced by this process is highly pure, making it a valuable power source for fuel cells and other energy systems. SMR devices are not commonly used as a method of hydrogen production because of their high cost. A report from the American Institute of Architects suggests that SMR devices can produce hydrogen gas more cost effectively than alternative methods.
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Hydrogen to be used to produce clean gasoline
The gas produced at the facility will be used to manufacture cleaner burning gasoline. This gasoline will be used to power public buses and forklifts as well as other vehicles. The gas will also be used as part of hybrid gasoline-fuel cell energy systems. These systems have been growing in popularity as more attention has been drawn to the high costs of hydrogen fuel cells. These costs have held back the advancement of hydrogen fuel significantly. In an attempt to sidestep concerns and make hydrogen more appealing to consumers and businesses, hybrid energy systems were developed to familiarize the world with fuel cells.
Facility to begin operation this week
Air Liquide believes that the new SMR facility will be a welcome addition to the growing alternative energy industry of Texas. The facility will begin operation this week. The construction of the facility was pushed ahead by Air Liquide in 2009 amidst concerns of economic turbulence.