Air Products Celebrates Heat Exchanger Roll Out

Air Products, a leader in liquefied natural gas technology and equipment, celebrated this month the rollout of the first completed LNG heat exchanger manufactured at its new production facility in Manatee County, Florida, a 300,000 square foot space that doubles the company’s manufacturing capacity.

“I am proud to say that no one in the world builds coil wound heat exchangers as large as we do. The largest LNG plants in the world use our technology. We needed a second manufacturing location, which would eliminate any transportation limitations regarding product size,” said Sandy McLauchlin, general manager of LNG and cryomachinery engineering and manufacturing at Air Products. “When we selected this site, we believed it provided us with everything we needed in an operational location. I can tell you we made a wise choice. This new facility will help us maintain our market leadership position.”

Generally, LNG heat exchangers are over 15 feet in diameter and 180 feet long, or about two-thirds of the size of a football field. A finished unit can weigh as much as 500 tons. “It remains to be seen how big we will build one here, but we are confident that at this new location, we can build an LNG heat exchanger to the size of whatever the market requires,” McLauchlin said.

At the conclusion of the celebration, the heat exchanger was transported from the Air Products facility, loaded on a barge and shipped to a customer for a major liquefied natural gas project along the US Gulf Coast, a first for the company. The facility’s second unit will also ship to the Gulf, a move that Air Products says is a part of its effort to respond to the needs of the LNG export industry in the US.

“As the world’s energy needs continue to increase, demand for cleaner energy is at the forefront, and natural gas is the cleanest of all the fossil fuels. In order to achieve the greatest economies of scale, even larger capacity LNG heat exchangers for LNG plants are being required by our customers,” said Jim Solomon, director of LNG at Air Products. “Our process technology and the LNG heat exchanger are the heart of an LNG plant. Our technology operates at some of the most remote locations around the world where vast fields of natural gas are located, and it is our liquefaction process that unlocks this stranded natural resource and thus makes it economical to be shipped around the world for energy use.”

According to Air Products, one of the key draws for Port Manatee was its ease of access to a port berth for shipping the proprietary and large equipment. “Both Air Products and Port Manatee benefit from their strong collaboration,” said Betsy Benac, Chair of the Manatee County Port Authority, who was on hand to mark the event. “Air Products has proven to be a huge asset to Manatee County in providing high paying jobs and other economic benefits, and we are looking forward to many more years of cooperation.”