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Sasol has unveiled one of the largest Air Separation Unit (ASU) ever built. Built and operated by Air Liquide, the air production facility at Sasol’s synthetic fuels and chemicals complex in Secunda cost an estimated R2.9-billion.

Air Liquide has delivered 17 ASUs to Sasol over the past 40 years. The new ASU has a total production capacity of 5 000 tonnes of O2 per day (equivalent to 5 800 tonnes per day at sea level), a milestone in the history of industrial gas production, the companies said. This is the first ASU that Sasol has chosen to outsource to a specialist of industrial gas production at this site. The O2 provided will be used by Sasol for the production of synthetic fuels.

Sasol Air Liquide launch new air separation unit

“The successful start-up of this world class ASU unit cements Sasol’s long-standing strategic partnership with Air Liquide, bringing first rate oxygen supply expertise and long-term reliability to our Secunda operations. Furthermore, this important milestone ensures that our integrated southern African value chain provides a robust platform for Sasol’s long-term growth and sustained contributions to the country’s economy,” says Bernard Klingenberg, Sasol Group Executive Vice President for Operations. 

“We are proud to be consolidating a strategic partnership built on trust and long-term commitment with Sasol. This project illustrates Air Liquide’s capability to manage very large innovative projects. This new unit sees, for the first time, Sasol outsource its oxygen needs at its Secunda site, confirming our leadership in oxygen production technology as well as our commitment to contribute to South Africa’s economic and social development,” adds François Jackow, a member of Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee supervising Middle East and Africa. 

The new ASU uses 20% less electricity, Sasol said, equating to avoiding approximately 200 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per annum. Sasol CEO Bongani Nqwababa said the oxygen capacity created through the new facility would allow the company to operate the Secunda complex up to at least 2050.

Image credit: https://industry.airliquide.co.za/south-africa-air-liquide-starts-worlds-largest-oxygen-production-unit

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