The “Cracker of the Future” consortium recently announced two new members (Repsol and Versalis (Eni)) 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. Read the full acticle on the Brightlands website.
Why electric cracking is important
Crackers are essential for the chemical industry and society:
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.
Electric cracking is a giant leap towards a climate-neutral Europe:
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.
Electric cracking enables key process routes for the circular economy:
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.
Delivering electric cracking requires public-private partnership:
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.