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Spanish Repsol and Italian Versalis join“Cracker of the Future” consortium

October 01/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The “Cracker of the Future” consortium announced two new members and accelerating the development of a game-changing technology for the electrification of the steam cracking process. This enables a revolutionary decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The consortium announced two new member companies: Repsol and Versalis (Eni) have recently joined the consortium.

Together with founding members Borealis (member of the OMV Group), BP, and TotalEnergies SE, the consortium covers ~1/3 of the European Union’s steam cracking capacity with units in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden.

There is a wide variety of possible electricity-based heating technologies, each offering its advantages, opportunities, disadvantages, and risks. The consortium has assessed many electricity-based heating technologies. It has selected a few for deeper dives to evaluate their development status and discuss potential cooperation with technology and equipment providers.

The consortium is currently evaluating different technology opportunities and will soon announce one of our preferred highly promising options while a few other promising concepts need further assessment before we can come to a decision. Such a progressive funneling of opportunities allows the consortium to elect the most promising technologies quickly, while maintaining space for potential new promising developments.

In the scenario aimed at, and with public innovation support, a demonstration can be undertaken in 2023, and commercial availability could be delivered as early as 2026. The availability of sufficient affordable renewable electricity (and infrastructure) is key for commercial deployment.

Steam crackers convert naphtha or natural gas liquids into basic building blocks (including ethylene, propylene, and aromatics), the start of many chemical value chains. However, the conversion requires a significant amount of energy and is conducted in furnaces at about 850 degrees Celsius, typically achieved by the combustion of fossil fuels. The building blocks are converted into a large variety of chemical products, delivering the functionality for our way of life ranging for instance from medical applications, to packaging to protect food, and polymers in wind turbines, solar panels, batteries and light-weighting of cars.

European Crackers are currently annually emitting ~30 Mton of CO2 (~20-25% of the European Chemical Industries’ overall greenhouse gas emissions). The majority of these emissions originate from the crackers' furnaces. In combination with other electrification measures, electric cracking with renewable energy can eliminate the cracker's greenhouse gas emissions to a large extent.

Currently, European crackers predominantly operate on fossil-naphtha feedstock with some light feedstock such as LPG and ethane originating from refining of oil and from natural gas liquids. Electric crackers will also be able to convert bio naphtha and pyrolysis oil from waste plastics (chemical recycling) and thus enable key process routes for the circular economy.

Meeting Europe’s Green Deal and becoming climate-neutral and circular requires enormous and disruptive changes. Developing electric cracking is one of the key changes. More than ever, a public-private partnership will be essential to achieve the objectives.

As MRC reported earlier, in September 2019, six world's major petrochemical companies in Flanders, Belgium, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, and the Netherlands (Trilateral Region) have announced the creation of a consortium to jointly investigate how naphtha or gas steam crackers could be operated using renewable electricity instead of fossil fuels. The Cracker of the Future consortium, which includes BASF, Borealis, BP, LyondellBasell, SABIC and Total, aims to produce base chemicals while also significantly reducing carbon emissions. The companies have agreed to invest in R&D and knowledge sharing as they assess the possibility of transitioning their base chemical production to renewable electricity.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 1,396,960 tonnes in January-July 2021, up by 7% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 841,990 tonnes in the first seven months of 2021, up by 29% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of statistical copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) subsided.

Repsol is headquartered in Madrid, Spain. In the 2020 Forbes Global 2000, Repsol was ranked as the 645th-largest public company in the world. It has more than 24,000 employees worldwide.

Eni is an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome. It has operations in in 79 countries, and is currently Italy's largest industrial company. The Italian government owns a 30.3% golden share in the company, 3.93% held through the state Treasury and 26.37% held through the Cassa depositi e prestiti. Another 39.40% of the shares are held by BNP Paribas. 


mrcplast.com
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, recikling, BASF, Borealis, BP Plc, Eni, LyondellBasell, OMV, Repsol, Sabic, Total Petrochemicals, Versalis.
Category:General News
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