RIYADH: Saudi Basic Industries Corporation joined forces with European companies BASF and Linde to start the construction of the world’s first pilot plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces in Germany, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The new technology uses electricity from renewable sources instead of natural gas, which allows it to reduce carbon emissions of one of the most energy-intensive production processes in the chemical industry by up to 90 percent, compared to technologies commonly used today.
The project includes huge potentials for all petrochemical industries around the world in light of the trend towards reducing carbon emissions in industrial processes, SABIC Vice-Chairman and CEO Yousef bin Abdullah Al-Bunyan said.
Al-Bunyan expressed his hope that this joint achievement will contribute to more cooperation between the three and other parties in order to put an end to greenhouse gas emissions, through the circular carbon economy.
The start-up of the demonstration plant, which will be fully integrated into one of the existing steam crackers at BASF’s Verbund site in Germany's Ludwigshafen, is targeted for 2023.
The plant will test two different heating concepts, processing around 4 tons of hydrocarbon per hour and consuming 6 MGW of renewable electricity/power, SPA said.
SABIC and BASF will handle the investment cost and BASF will be operating the plant.
Linde will be in charge of the engineering, procurement and construction of the project, and will commercialise the developed technologies in future.
The project has been granted €14.8m ($14.7m) by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action under its Decarbonisation in Industry funding programme, to help overcome challenges caused by global conditions and energy costs.
With the new technology, BASF, Sabic and Linde aim to develop full-scale commercial production plants “that can achieve significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, compared with today’s technology.”