Air Liquide Opens New Hydrogen Unit in La Porte
by: Andrew Schneider, April 26, 2012 10:04:00 am
It’s called a steam methane reformer, and its main job is to extract hydrogen from natural gas. For now, the main use of that hydrogen is to remove sulfur from fossil fuels, letting refiners process heavier crudes.
But Air Liquide is also betting on a big demand for that element in fuel cells. The company is already supplying hydrogen for bus fleets. It’s now expanding to the warehouse floor, having just signed a deal with Coca-Cola. Michael Graff is president and CEO of Air Liquide for the U.S. and the Americas.
“This new project will provide hydrogen for thirty-seven fuel cell-driven forklifts and nineteen pallet jacks that previously were powered by lead acid batteries. Coca-Cola is estimating that will increase its productivity in its warehouse operations by more than 15%, and it will lower its operating costs by more than 30%.”
The new unit itself is not supplying hydrogen for the Coca-Cola project.
Paris-based Air Liquide has its U.S. headquarters in the Galleria, with approximately 1,400 employees in the Houston area.
Michael Graff, president and CEO of Air Liquide for the U.S. and the Americas, cuts the ribbon to formally open the SMR.