Germany – The first demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces is now under construction by BASF, SABIC, and Linde.
At the BASF Verbund location in Ludwigshafen, Germany, the demonstration plant will be fully integrated into one of the existing steam crackers. It will use about 4 tons of hydrocarbon per hour and 6 megawatts of renewable energy while testing two different heating methods. The target year for when the demonstration facility will begin operations is 2023.
The demonstration plant is being operated by BASF with joint funding from BASF and SABIC. Linde is involved in the project as an EPC partner and will eventually market the resulting technology.
The project has received €14.8 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action’s “Decarbonization in Industry” financing initiative to promote the development of the unique furnace technology. Energy-intensive sectors in Germany are receiving help from the initiative in their pursuit of carbon neutrality.
Reducing CO2 emissions
In order to convert hydrocarbons into olefins and aromatics, steam crackers consume a great deal of energy and serve a crucial role in the manufacturing of basic chemicals. The reaction is typically carried out in furnaces at temperatures of around 850 °C. To achieve these temperatures today, fossil fuels are used. Using energy to run the process is one way the initiative plans to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions.
One of the most energy-intensive production processes in the chemical sector might see a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions by switching to the new technology, which uses electricity from renewable sources instead of natural gas.