Petrochemicals industry on its journey towards sustainable future: BASF, SABIC and Linde start construction of the world’s first demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces
- Demonstration plant with 6 megawatts input of renewable electrical energy to be fully integrated into a steam cracker at BASF’s Ludwigshafen Verbund site
- Technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by at least 90% compared to conventional steam crackers
- Project has been awarded funding by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action
- Start-up of the demonstration plant is targeted for 2023
September 1, 2022 – BASF, SABIC and Linde have started the construction of the world’s first ever demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces at the Ludwigshafen site.
Why are these amazing news so important? Steam crackers play a central role in the production of basic chemicals and require a significant amount of energy to break down hydrocarbons into olefins and aromatics. Typically, the reaction is conducted in furnaces at temperatures of about 850 degrees Celsius. To understand exactly how hot that is, think that the temperature of molten lava ranges from about 700-1,200°C.
Today these temperatures are reached by burning fossil fuels, but the project aims to reduce the CO2 emissions by powering the process with electricity. It is very challenging to achieve such a high temperature by electrification but working towards it is worth the effort. Powering steam crackers with renewable energy could lead to up to a 90% reduction in GHG emissions. So cracking the technological processes to heating steam crackers with green electricity is a crucial step towards emission reduction in our sector.
This is why we need more renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, to help electrify the chemicals industry. We need a faster uptake of renewable energy sources, removal of grid bottlenecks, and strengthened infrastructure.
Read the joint news release from BASF, SABIC and Linde to learn more.