BASF, SABIC and Linde have signed a joint agreement to develop and demonstrate solutions for electrically heated steam cracker furnaces. 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. The project aims to reduce the CO2 emissions by powering the process with electricity. By using electricity from renewable sources, the fundamentally new technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 90%.
Dr. Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF said “This technology leap will be a milestone on the path to a low-emission chemical industry. We have not only developed the world’s first electrical heating concepts for steam crackers, but also want to demonstrate the reliability of key components for use in this type of high-temperature reactors. To be able to drive a timely scale-up and industrial implementation of this technology, investment support and competitive renewable energy prices will be important prerequisites.”