Air Products and ExxonMobil start-up hydrogen production plant in Rotterdam

Posted on 14 Feb 2012 by Tim Brown

Air Products and ExxonMobil today celebrated the start-up of a new world-scale hydrogen production plant in Rotterdam.

Joop Atsma, State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment, Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam and Hans Smits, CEO Port of Rotterdam, participated in the official ceremony.

Integrating ExxonMobil’s refinery with Air Products’ new hydrogen plant, Dutch Daily News reported that the plant will lead to a 15% improvement in energy efficiency and reduce related CO2 emissions by 200,000 tons per year.

“Key to achieving the delivery of a world-class plant of this size and scope within such an aggressive timetable was the expertise and close collaboration of all those involved in the project,” said Jeff Byrne, Air Products’ global vice president and general manager – Tonnage Gases.

Mr Byrne added: “The Dutch government and local authorities also played an important role in helping us to deliver a plant that, by design, minimizes the loss of heat to the environment and reduces the natural gas requirement.”

“As a location, the ExxonMobil Botlek site offers significant synergy in terms of our products and feedstock flow. It also allows us to connect the new plant into our extensive Rotterdam hydrogen pipeline network, which supplies hydrogen to several other customers in the region.”

State Secretary Atsma said in his speech that the importance of the new plant should not be underestimated. “We need plants like this one nationally as well as internationally to achieve our European mid-term and long term environmental ambitions. Today, Air Products and ExxonMobil show that by a targeted investment and integration of industrial processes, substantial energy savings and CO2 reduction are being achieved.’’

Innaugurating operations at Air Products' new Rotterdam
Inaugurating operations at Air Products' new Rotterdam plant were: ( l-r) Jeff Byrne (Vice President, General Manager - Tonnage Gases at Air Products); Joop Atsma (Dutch Secretary of State for Infrastructure and Environment); Ahmed Aboutaleb (Mayor of Rotterdam); Hans Smits (President and Chief Exec Officer of Port of Rotterdam); Wim van Sluis (Deltalinqs); Joost van Roost (President of ExxonMobil – Benelux)

The Air Products plant uses ExxonMobil refinery’s excess gas to produce hydrogen. The refinery uses hydrogen for the desulphurization of oil products and in the manufacture of petrochemicals.

The new plant uses the most advanced processes and technologies which makes the hydrogen production considerably more efficient than the previous hydrogen supply to the refinery.

The hydrogen plant also delivers steam to the refinery. The synergy in the production processes of the two plants will improve overall energy efficiency by more than 15%.

“Improving energy efficiency is the best way to reduce energy consumption and related CO2 emissions,” says Andrew Madden, ExxonMobil refinery manager.

“Through projects such as this one refineries can continue to provide oil products economically while continuing to reduce their environmental footprint,” added Mr Madden.

The start-up of the new hydrogen plant took place in December 2011, taking approximately one million man-hours to build with eight different languages spoken.

Although there were challenging circumstances, the worker’s safety was managed proactively and successfully.