Air Products signed a contract to build and new air separation unit (ASU) to supply industrial gases to Xingtai Iron and Steel Corp. Ltd., one of China’s largest specialty-steel manufacturers. Air Products will also purchase and operate four existing ASUs. Xingtai is expanding its existing steelmaking capacity and will be supplied over 1,700 tons/day of oxygen from the combined ASUs under a long-term agreement. The new ASU is expected to be on-stream in March 2011. The purchase of the existing ASUs is pending Chinese government approval, which is expected later this year.

The oxygen, nitrogen and argon produced by the plants will be used by Xingtai to help meet China’s growing demand for specialty-steel products. The new ASU will be designed and built primarily by Air Products’ engineering center in Shanghai and its cryogenic manufacturing center in Caojing.