Construction underway on $200 million plant

June 30, 2011 at 9:36 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Eight miles of pipeline will be built in St. Charles Parish to  deliver hydrogen from Air Products’ new plant to industry around the area.
Courtesy Photo
Eight miles of pipeline will be built in St. Charles Parish to deliver hydrogen from Air Products’ new plant to industry around the area.
Construction on a $200 million hydrogen plant in Luling is underway and a pipeline, which will deliver the hydrogen throughout the area, is scheduled to begin construction in July.

Air Products began construction of the plant, located next to Monsanto, in the fall and the scheduled completion date is February. There are currently 100 people on site working on the plant and construction will peak at about 350 people, Daniel Diller, site manager, said. The large majority of these workers are Louisiana-based contractors and approximately 15 percent of the construction workforce is from the immediate Luling area.

Both Monsanto and Air Products will benefit from the plant’s construction.

Air Products will buy and purify hydrogen produced by Monsanto’s production process and Monsanto will buy steam produced by Air Products’ manufacturing process, Diller said.

The new Air Products plant will produce more than 100 million standard cubic feet per day of hydrogen and will generate 140,000 pounds per hour of steam, Diller said.
Additionally, the plant will be hooked into Air Products’ Gulf Coast hydrogen pipeline that stretches 170 miles from Baton Rouge to Chalmette in Louisiana.

The pipeline is being extended to connect with Air Products’ Texas hydrogen pipeline network. Eight miles of the pipeline will be built in St. Charles Parish and construction will start in mid-July.

Diller said that most major refineries in the area receive hydrogen from the Air Products’ pipeline. Hydrogen is predominantly being used in production of cleaner burning transportation fuels.

“Anytime a company comes into this community and spends $200 million, I think it strengthens the entire economy,” Councilman Terry Authement said.

Though the pipeline will cross I-310, Paul Maillard Road and Highway 3160, Diller said that the company doesn’t expect to cause traffic delays because of the work.

“All the major crossings will be directional drill, so we shouldn’t interrupt the traffic flow at all,” he said.

Directional drilling is a steerable trenchless method of installing underground pipes, conduits and cables in a shallow arc along a prescribed bore path by using a surface launched drilling rig, with minimal impact on the surrounding area.

The plant will have 10 full time employees and Diller said that two Luling men have already been hired as operators.
He said the plant, which will be staffed with a mixture of local workers and transfers, will have an annual payroll of $1 million.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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