Air Products and Chemicals Reports Hurricane Katrina Damage

September 08, 2005 by Jeff Shepard

Air Products and Chemicals Inc. (Allentown, PA) reported that Hurricane Katrina caused extensive damage to its industrial gas complex in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 31, 2005. The total extent of the damage was not immediately known, nor how it will affect the company's ability to supply customers with hydrogen from the New Orleans plant for an extended period of time. In addition, the company's liquid hydrogen production facility at Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, is scheduled for a shutdown because of a temporary suspension of its supplier's feed-gas plant.

Air Products is one of the major suppliers of hydrogen used in the deposition of epitaxial films on silicon wafers, thus the hydrogen supply disruption may affect the manufacturing of epitaxial films destined for silicon substrates. The films are critical in the manufacture of higher-voltage semiconductors used in power management applications. Other suppliers of electronic-grade hydrogen are increasing their output to compensate for the shortfall. Furthermore, alternative purification techniques are being implemented by silicon manufacturers that will allow lower grades of hydrogen gas to be used for making silicon and epitaxial films.