Air Products starts up hydrogen plant in Texas; Dow may expand ethylene, polyethylene plant in Canada; TotalEnergies to help polypropylene recycling; Shell starts plant that turns cow manure to RNG; EIA projects emissions to rise through 2050

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Air Products facilities in La Porte, Tx. Image courtesy of Air Products

Air Products starts up hydrogen plant in Texas

Air Products said on Oct. 7 it started up a 30 tons-per-day liquid hydrogen plant near Houston that will get feedstock from its existing Houston-to-New Orleans hydrogen pipeline network.

The Allentown, Pennsylvania-based company targets “the increased growth we anticipate from several markets, namely the hydrogen for mobility,” said Francesco Maione, president for the Americas at Air Products.

Air Products will deliver the product in trailers and will convert its 2,000-vehicle fleet to hydrogen starting in 2022.

Air Products also plans to build a green liquid hydrogen facility in the Southwest.  Green hydrogen is produced with zero-carbon sources.

It already produces liquid hydrogen in New Orleans, Louisiana; Sacramento, California; Sarnia in Ontario, Canada; and Rotterdam in Europe.

Air Products has existing hydrogen and syngas production operations at La Porte, southeast of Houston, where the plant that started up is located. 

The Air Products' Gulf Coast Pipeline extends over 700-miles from the Houston Ship Channel to New Orleans. It supplies 1.9 billion feet of hydrogen per day from 25 plants and is the world’s biggest. 

The pipeline includes the supply of blue hydrogen from Air Products' Port Arthur, Texas facility. Blue hydrogen uses carbon storage to prevent emissions during the production process from reaching the atmosphere.

Air Products posted fiscal 2020 sales revenue from operations at just under $9 billion.

Dow may expand ethylene, polyethylene complex in Canada

Dow said on Oct. 6 that it plans to triple its ethylene and polyethylene capacity in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta and turn the asset into a net-zero emissions complex.

Company directors must still approve the investment that would increase Dow’s ethylene and polyethylene global production capacity by 15% and de-carbonize 20% of its total output.

The cracker will add 1.8 million metric tons of capacity “in a phased manner through 2030,” Dow added.

Dow will allocate approximately $1 billion of capital expenditures annually if there is a positive decision.

TotalEnergies to help increase polypropylene recycling rates

TotalEnergies Petrochemicals and Refining USA said on Oct. 7 that it will participate in efforts to try to increase recycling rates of polypropylene.

TotalEnergies and The Partnership's Polypropylene Recycling Coalition want polypropylene recycling rates closer to that of other plastics like PET and high-density polyethylene, said Paul Colonna, the company’s vice president for Polymers Americas. 

The company targets production of 30% recycled and renewable polymers by 2030, he added.

The Paris-headquartered TotalEnergies employs 105,000 people in over 130 countries. TotalEnergies was formerly Total but announced its new longer name on May 28.

The company reported in September 2020 the construction of France's first chemical recycling plant to transform plastic waste into a pyrolysis oil that becomes feedstock for new production cycles.

Shell starts up plant that turns cow manure to RNG

Shell said on Sep. 28 that it has started up production of renewable natural gas at its first bio-methane facility in the U.S. called Shell New Energies and located in Junction City, Oregon. 

The facility processes cow manure and excess agricultural residues with an expected 736,000 MMBtu a year of RNG (renewable natural gas) annual capacity.

"Biomethane has a significant role to play in the energy transition," said Carlos Maurer, Shell’s vice president for de-carbonization. 

Shell Downstream Galloway in Kansas and Bovarius in Idaho also process cow manure. Together they produce 900,000 MMBtu annually of negative carbon intensity RNG.

Shell is undergoing a transformation to adapt to carbon reduction goals. It plans to reduce its number of refineries worldwide and keep only those integrated with petrochemical plants.

EIA projects emissions will continue to increase through 2050

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Oct. 7 it projects that the world’s energy consumption will grow by nearly 50% until 2050 leading to greater carbon emissions.

“If current policy and technology trends continue, global energy consumption and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions will increase through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth,” it said.

Liquid fuels will remain the largest energy source, driven by industry and transportation, according to a projection based on current laws and regulations.

“Even with growth in renewable energy, without significant policy changes or technological breakthroughs, we project increasing energy-related carbon dioxide emissions through 2050,” said Stephen Nalley, the EIA’s acting administrator.

By Reuters Events Downstream