Air Products' Hydrogen: a key enabler in global energy production.
No company knows refinery hydrogen like Air Products, nor has any company spent as much time developing hydrogen as a fuel.
With over 60 plants and over 500 miles of pipeline, Air Products is the world's largest producer of outsourced hydrogen to oil refineries, which use hydrogen to get the most out of every barrel of oil in making cleaner burning transport fuels. And with nearly 100 hydrogen fuelling stations located in the U.S. and around the world today, we are leveraging our vast hydrogen experience and resources to advance hydrogen fuel cell technology to make the hydrogen economy a reality.
While our hydrogen is used in the production of numerous consumer and industrial products, the largest volume application is "refinery hydrogen", and we are the leading global supplier. Oil refineries use hydrogen to make lower sulphur, cleaner burning transport fuels.
The average barrel of processed crude oil has become heavier (a higher carbon-to-hydrogen ratio) and more sour (more sulphur). Through a chemical reaction, hydrogen lightens heavier crude and enables the removal of sulphur. This allows oil refineries to produce higher value product mixes, such as petrol, and meet increasingly tighter low-sulphur fuel specifications globally. Air Products' refinery hydrogen is playing a key role in producing transport fuel that's easier on the environment.
Air Products operates hydrogen pipeline networks around the world: in Sarnia, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta in Canada; in Rotterdam in The Netherlands; and in the U.S. in Southern California and the Texas/Louisiana Gulf Coast. We continue to grow and expand these franchises.
For example, we recently extended our U.S. Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline, creating a 150+ mile continuous network with 15 hydrogen production source points feeding the system, including recently announced hydrogen plants being built in the state. This extension enhances our Gulf Coast hydrogen leadership position, increasing the supply reliability of our pipeline network and continuing to build upon our multi-source hydrogen system, which will soon have over 650 MMSCFD (million standard cubic feet) of capacity.
Also in the U.S. Gulf Coast, we have a second and larger hydrogen pipeline system of over 300 miles, reaching from the Houston Ship Channel in Texas to Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Air Products has safely operated hydrogen pipelines for over 35 years, incorporating a design philosophy based on 100 years of continuous safe operation. Our pipeline design and operations meet or exceed government requirements.
Energy from Hydrogen
The use of hydrogen as a commercial energy source may be in its early stages, however, great strides are being made every day. Challenges to the hydrogen economy include integrating systems, creating a fuelling infrastructure and gaining consumer acceptance. Air Products is working to address these challenges:
- We are the leader in hydrogen fuelling infrastructure, with nearly 100 hydrogen fuelling stations worldwide, and we are a leading developer of hydrogen energy services and equipment. Cars, trucks, vans, buses, scooters, forklifts and other materials handling equipment, and even submarines, have been fuelled with this trend-setting technology that involves our know-how, equipment and hydrogen.
- We are working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for automotive and other consumer products, equipment manufacturers and commercial users to demonstrate and test hydrogen's benefits.
- We are actively involved in fuel cell and internal combustion applications and demonstration projects, partnering with industry and government.
- We are a principal participant in initiatives to make direct hydrogen economically viable; e.g., hydrogen reforming and generation, storage technologies, fuelling components and infrastructure.
- We are an active and knowledgeable member of codes and standards development committees, which are keys to furthering the hydrogen economy.
- We have an unsurpassed safety record in the production, storage, handling and distribution of hydrogen and other gases, earning more safety-related awards than any other industrial gas company. We have assumed a leadership role in supporting the hydrogen fuel technology community in the safe use of hydrogen.
Hydrogen’s Benefits Today
- Lowers sulphur in fuels and the corresponding sulphur dioxide, which causes acid rain
- Enables catalytic converters to remove other pollutants from transport fuels—such as nitrous oxide (NOx), particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—which cause respiratory problems
- Helps conserve precious natural resources by enabling refiners to increase the amount of fuel that can be produced from every barrel of crude oil
- Enables refiners to use all qualities of crude, regardless of how heavy or sour
Hydrogen’s Benefits Tomorrow
- The cleanest burning and most efficient fuel – Can be used to produce electricity in a fuel cell for the cleanest option or in an internal combustion engine,
where emissions are still significantly reduced compared with other fuels
- Can produce electricity and electricity can produce hydrogen, creating an energy loop that is renewable and harmless to the environment