Gas company Air Liquide has launched a €200-million air separation unit (ASU) at energy and chemicals company Sasol's Secunda plant.
Said to be the biggest oxygen production unit in the world, the ASU has a production capacity of 5 000 t/d of oxygen. Owned and operated by Air Liquide, it is the first ASU that Sasol has chosen to outsource to a specialist of industrial gas production at this site.
The new ASU supplies Sasol with large quantities of oxygen that is used for the production of fuels and chemicals.
"The start-up of the ASU represents a new milestone in the partnership between Air Liquide and Sasol which brings to 17 the number of ASUs delivered by Air Liquide over the last 40 years, with a total oxygen production capacity greater than 45 000 t/d," Air Liquide said in a statement.
The ASU's design is based on Air Liquide's proprietary technologies including several first-of-its-kind innovations in the air compression process, which allow for a yearly reduction in electricity consumption of more than 20%, contributing to reducing the customer's carbon footprint.
As scheduled, the new ASU has been completed in less than three years from design to commissioning. This ASU also provides Air Liquide with a new source of liquid gases to supply the growing industrial gas market in South Africa.
"We are proud to be consolidating a strategic partnership built on trust and long-term commitment with Sasol. This project illustrates Air Liquide's capability to manage very large innovative projects.
"This new unit sees, for the first time, Sasol outsource its oxygen needs at its Secunda site, confirming our leadership in oxygen production technology, as well as our commitment to contribute to South Africa's economic and social development," said Air Liquide Group executive committee member François Jackow.