Engineering News

Air Products, Linde Form Anhydrous HCl JV
January 12, 2011

Air Products and Linde Gas North America on Wednesday announced they have formed Hydrochlor, a 50-50 joint venture to supply high-purity anhydrous hydrochloric acid (HCl) to the electronics and other industries.

As part of the agreement, Hydrochlor will build a facility to process and package HCl supplied via pipeline from The Dow Chemical Company. The new facility will be located on Dow's Freeport, Texas, site. Oversight for Hydrochlor will be governed by a team of managers from each partner company. The facility, scheduled to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2012, is designed to meet current merchant requirements and can be expanded to serve growth in market demand.

Hydrochlor will sell HCl exclusively to the joint venture partners, who will continue to market HCl independently. Until the new facility's startup, Dow will continue to supply HCl independently to Air Products at its Hometown, Pa., facility and to Linde at its Lovington, New Mexico, location.

"This significant investment in Hydrochlor secures a vital domestic supply of high-purity HCl for a variety of end markets," said Corning Painter, vice president and general manager of Electronics for Air Products. "The Hydrochlor agreement is another example of Air Products' commitment to ensuring surety of supply of critical materials to our customers."

"This is an important development for our customers," said Cliff Caldwell, vice president of Electronics and Specialty Gases for Linde North America. "There have been concerns regarding the continuity of supply for high-purity HCl into the merchant market for some time. This new production and filling plant will finally put these concerns to rest. When completed, the Freeport facility will be the largest HCl production plant in the country and will allow Linde to continue supplying critical high-purity HCl to its U.S. and international customers."

HCl is a key raw material used by semiconductor manufacturers for cleaning reactors used in the epitaxial process and also is used for chamber cleaning. A majority of North American merchant HCl is supplied to the pharmaceuticals and agricultural industries. HCl also is used as a chemical intermediate in the manufacture of inorganic chlorides.

Source: Air Products & Chemicals Inc.

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