MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi chemical manufacturing company SABIC has signed a joint agreement with BASF and Linde to develop and demonstrate solutions for electrically heated steam cracker furnaces, according to Arab News.
The partners have already jointly worked on concepts to use renewable electricity instead of the fossil fuel gas typically used for the heating process. With this innovative approach focusing on one of the petrochemical industries’ core processes, the parties strive to offer a promising solution to significantly contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions within the chemical industry.
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 at temperatures of about 850 degrees Celsius in their furnaces. Today, these temperatures are reached by burning fossil fuels. By using electricity from renewable sources, the fundamentally new technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 90 percent.
BASF and SABIC have bundled their extensive know-how and intellectual property in developing chemical processes together with their longstanding experiences and knowledge in operating steam crackers, while Linde contributed with its intellectual property, expertise in developing and building steam cracking furnace technologies and driving future industry commercialization.
The partners applied for financial grants at the EU Innovation Fund and the funding program Decarbonization in Industry (new program of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment).
The parties are evaluating construction of a multi-megawatt demonstration plant at BASF’s Ludwigshafen site, targeted for start-up as early as 2023, subject to a positive funding decision.
As MRC informed earlier, BASF, the world's petrochemical major, aims is to electrify its production processes for basic chemicals, which are currently based on fossil fuels. The project envisions an additional offshore wind farm with a capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW) to provide the Ludwigshafen chemical site with green electricity and enable CO2-free production of hydrogen.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia"s estimated PE consumption totalled 576,270 tonnes in the first three month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) shipments increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market totalled 410,890 tonnes in January-March 2021, up by 56% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased.
BASF is the leading chemical company. It produces a wide range of chemicals, for example solvents, amines, resins, glues, electronic-grade chemicals, industrial gases, basic petrochemicals and inorganic chemicals. The most important customers for this segment are the pharmaceutical, construction, textile and automotive industries.
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world's market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers.