Italy: Hydrogen for clean fuel

September 3, 2007

Most hydrogen is used in hydro conversion* and in fuel desulphurization processes to produce gasoline and diesel with lower sulphur content. The hydrogen supplied by Air Liquide to refineries around the world enabled refineries to reduce sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions by approximately 700,000 tonnes in 2006, which is more than the total SOx emitted by a country like France in one year.

Over the past six years, Air Liquide has made plans to build 16 new large hydrogen production units worldwide and the Group has recently started up operations at its new production unit in Priolo Gargallo, Italy. This new unit, located within Erg Med’s refinery (ERG Group), has a capacity of 30,000 Nm³/hour and is scheduled to produce over 220 million m³ of pure hydrogen annually. It will supply hydrogen for the next 15 years to two refineries in Italy’s Augusta-Priolo petrochemicals district: Erg Med’s refinery and ExxonMobil’s (Esso Italiana’s) refinery. The hydrogen will be used in the hydroconversion plant to reduce the amount of sulphur in the gasoline and diesel produced at these refineries. Air Liquide has invested approximately €45 million in this new unit.

Pierre Dufour, Executive Vice President in charge of the Large Industries World Business Line at Air Liquide, commented, We are delighted to see this project come to fruition. Our hydrogen will allow our customers’ processes to run more efficiently, and help them live up to their environmental responsibilities. It is a shining example of Air Liquide’s commitment to sustainable development.

* Hydro conversion consists of transforming, using hydrogen, long and unsaturated hydrocarbon molecules in shorter and saturated molecules which are more adapted to gasoline and diesel

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