MOSCW (MRC) -- Essar Oil UK, the leading UK-focused downstream energy company, announces plans to install a new GBP45 MM (US60.8 MM) furnace at Stanlow that’s capable of using hydrogen as its fuel source, which is the first for the UK, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.
This marks another milestone in Essar’s goal to becoming the UK’s first low carbon refinery. It follows the launch of Vertex Hydrogen last month, a new Essar-led JV, in which the company will invest GBP1 B (USD1.3 B) over the next five years to drive down emissions, including the development of new hydrogen production plants at Stanlow, forming a central part of the HyNet Northwest decarbonization cluster.
The scheme (which is subject to planning approval) comprises the decommissioning of three existing furnaces and their replacement with a single, highly efficient furnace, which includes a chimney of approximately 71 m.
The scheme will provide a number of improvements that will lead to benefits for Stanlow and the surrounding area, including lower carbon emissions due to gas-only firing and new burners that emit lower levels of nitrogen oxide and futureproofing to enable the use of sustainable fuel types in the future such as hydrogen. The furnace is currently being fabricated in Thailand. The largest single module is 26.5 m long, by 18.5 m tall, by 14.5 m and the furnace will be delivered on site almost fully constructed.
The new furnace forms a key part of the company’s strategy to reduce its own carbon emissions. The furnace is unique in that it will have the capability to run entirely off hydrogen, becoming the first of its kind based at a UK refinery. It has an improved energy efficiency of 4% compared to existing furnaces, which will save 16,600 tons of CO2 per year, as well as reducing ongoing maintenance costs.
Set to be installed in 2022, the furnace will become fully operational next year. From 2026 onwards it will be fueled by hydrogen produced at Stanlow as part of the HyNet Northwest decarbonization cluster. Essar’s Vertex Hydrogen will develop the world’s first and largest blue hydrogen production plant at Stanlow. Hydrogen will be used at the site and will be distributed to industrial businesses in the region to support their transition to low carbon.
As MRC informed earlier, British refiner Essar Oil plans to build two low-carbon hydrogen plants at its Standlow refinery in northwest England at a cost of 750 million pounds (USD1 billion). The company submitted planning applications for the project in October, 2021.
We remind that in late September 2019, Essar resumed operations at its cracker in Stanlow, UK with the capacity of 45,000 mt/year of ethylene and 165,000 mt/year of propylene. It was shut on 11 September, 2019, due to the power outage at the site.
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 2,265,290 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2021, up by 14% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,363,850 tonnes in January-November, 2021, up by 25% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding PP random copolymers decreased significantly.