The joint project between chemical firms BASF, Sabic, and Linde to build the world’s first electrically heated steam cracker furnaces hit an important milestone recently with the installation of the last transformers for the demonstration plant.
This is one of the final and most crucial steps of the construction and has taken place about a year after construction started.
Completion is scheduled for the end of 2023, followed by a stepwise commissioning.
The electricity-based heating concepts for olefin production, which will be tested at the plant in the future, require a total of 6 megawatts of renewable energy. The transformers convert current to the voltage required at the plant. There are nine transformers in total, and through each of them flows several thousand amps of current.
Thanks to the novel heating concepts, and by using electricity from renewable sources instead of natural gas, electric steam cracker furnaces, one of the most energy-intensive production processes, can potentially reduce CO2 emissions by at least 90% compared to conventional technologies.
The demonstration plant will be fully integrated into one of the existing steam crackers at BASF’s Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
The German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection is sponsoring the project with EUR14.8 million as part of the “Decarbonisation in Industry” funding program, financed by the European Union’s NextGenerationEU fund.