Over a construction period lasting two years, Air Liquide has constructed a new natural gas reformer in Dormagen. The French gases company has invested approximately 100 million Euros in the facility which is situated at the Chempark industrial park near Leverkusen, Germany, with the goal of producing hydrogen and carbon monoxide there which are required by the local industrial firms. As detailed by the company, the facility will be one of the most modern steam reformers in the world. The facility, which is 54 m in height, is able to produce 22,000 tonnes of hydrogen (= 25.000 Nm3 per hour) and 120,000 tonnes of carbon monoxide per year from natural gas and water vapor. The lead buyer of these gases is Covestro AG (until August 31st 2015 Bayer MaterialScience AG), which requires large volumes of H2 and CO for its TDI system (toluenen-diisocyanate), in which polyurethane is manufactured for use in mattresses and polyester. To enable other companies to be supplied, the facility is also connected to the 600 km long Rhine-Ruhr pipeline for H2, N2, and O2 owned by Air Liquide.
In comparison with HyCO4, the natural gas reformer of competitor Air Products, which entered operation in Rotterdam in 2012, the facility’s production capacity is five times lower. Totaling 16,000 m2, the surface area is also smaller (compared with 25,000 m2 at HyCO4), although the constructed steel volume (2,500 tonnes) is two and a half times the size of that at the plant in the Netherlands.