LyondellBasell, Technip Energies and Chevron Phillips Chemical have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the design, construction and operation of a demonstration electric-heated cracking furnace to produce olefins. A joint development agreement is expected to be signed later this year.
The demonstration unit will use Technip Energies’ electric steam cracking furnace technology - eFurnace by T.E.N. - and will be designed to prove the technology at industrial scale.
Steam cracking furnaces play a significant role in the production of basic chemicals by breaking down hydrocarbons into olefins and aromatics. This cracking process requires a temperature of more than 850°C.
The demonstration unit would achieve this temperature using electricity.
Planned at LyondellBasell’s Channelview site in Texas, which offers, amongst others, feedstock flexibility, electric grid infrastructure, proximity to the other MOU parties and access to expertise at LyondellBasell’s Houston Technology Center, the project will be managed and implemented by a joint development team.
The eFurnace technology would also enable LyondellBasell to use renewable electricity as a heat source for the olefins cracking process, to further cut greenhouse gas emissions during the olefin production process - by ‘up to 90% compared with a conventional furnace’, LyondellBasell CEO Peter Vanacker said.
The unit, a first for LyondellBasell, will serve as a test of the technology and with the aim of confirming that continuous olefin production is possible using electricity as a heat source.
"Consistent with our purpose to engineer a much-needed sustainable future, Technip Energies is making huge strides toward reducing the CO2 emissions resulting from the production of ethylene and this design will enable olefins producers to take advantage of the growing supply of available renewable energy to operate the most energy-intensive part of the plant,” said Arnaud Pieton, CEO of Technip Energies.
LyondellBasell is committed to reaching net zero scope 1 and scope 2 GHG emissions by 2050 and has set ambitious interim targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 42%, and scope 3 GHG emissions 30% by 2030, relative to a 2020 baseline.
The company has also announced plans to develop an integrated hub in Houston to support the growth of its circular and low carbon solutions business, which will leverage existing capabilities at its sites in Houston, such as Channelview.