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Launching the furnace

Sabic, partners launch first electrically heated cracking furnace

RIYADH, April 19, 2024

Sabic, BASF and Linde have launched the world's first experimental plant for large-scale cracking furnaces operated by electric heating, following three years of development, engineering, and construction. The experimental plant is now prepared for regular operation at BASF’s Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.
 
The aim of the experimental plant is to showcase the potential for continuous production of olefins using electricity as a heat source at temperatures up to 850 degrees Celsius. Cracking units are crucial in the production of basic chemicals, demanding a substantial amount of energy to convert hydrocarbons into olefins and aromatics, A Saudi Press Agency (SPA) report said.
 
This new technology relies on renewable sources to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 90% compared to conventional techniques, significantly enhancing energy efficiency in chemical production, one of the most energy-intensive processes in the chemical industry today.
 
Higher olefins
The experimental plant, which produces olefins such as ethylene and propylene and can generate higher olefins from saturated hydrocarbon feedstocks, has been seamlessly integrated into the existing cracking units in Ludwigshafen City. 
 
With the plant operational, data and insights regarding material behaviour and processes will be gathered under commercial operating conditions. This information will be crucial in refining this innovative technology to the level of industrial market readiness.
 
Two different heating concepts are planned to be tested in separate experimental furnaces: one using direct heating by supplying direct electrical current to the cracking tubes, and the other employing indirect heating through radiant heat from heating elements placed around the tubes. These electrically heated furnaces will process around 4 tonnes of hydrocarbon feedstock per hour and consume 6 megawatts of renewable energy.
 
To support the advancement of new furnace technologies, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action granted the project 14.8 million euros ($17.9 million) under the "Decarbonisation of Industry" funding programme. This programme also assists energy-intensive industries in Germany in their efforts toward achieving carbon neutrality.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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