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Air Liquide announces start up of new Steam Methane Reformer in La Porte, Texas

Air Liquide Large Industries U.S. LP (“Air Liquide”) today held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the formal start up of a new Steam Methane Reformer (SMR) in La Porte, Texas, just east of Houston.

The 120 million standard cubic feet per day of gaseous hydrogen produced by the SMR will feed into the company’s pipeline system along the Texas Gulf Coast, including the recently built 85 mile pipeline expansion to supply refineries in Port Arthur, Texas. Hydrogen is used in the oil refining process to convert heavy crude oil into clean burning transportation fuels and petrochemical feed stocks.

In remarks at today’s ceremony, Michael Graff, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Air Liquide Holdings, Inc., expressed appreciation to employees and all construction personnel for more than 1.2 million safe, injury free work hours on the project.

Added Graff: ”In 2009, in the midst of one of the most difficult economic downturns our country has faced, Air Liquide made the strategic decision to move forward with this major investment, utilizing Air Liquide’s proprietary technology, recognizing the long term need for hydrogen to promote and enable continued growth along the Gulf Coast. And it is this type of vision – for growth – for innovation – that sets Air Liquide apart.”

In addition to the benefits of hydrogen in manufacturing cleaner gasoline, the gas increasingly is being used with fuel cells for transit buses and fork lift trucks for materials handling. Earlier this month, Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP (ALIUS) announced a demonstration project for a hydrogen-powered fuel cell transit bus in Birmingham, Ala. In January 2012, ALIUS began supplying hydrogen to a fleet of 37 hydrogen-powered fuel cell fork lifts at a leading soft drink maker’s bottling and distribution facility in California.

Joining Air Liquide in today’s ceremony were Texas State Senator Mike Jackson and representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator John Cornyn and Representative Pete Olson, as well as the City of La Porte’s Economic Development Department.

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