Decarbonization Dow, Shell Announce Progress on E-Cracker Technology

Editor: Ahlam Rais

In 2020, Dow and Shell had collaborated to develop a unique E-cracker technology to electrify ethylene steam crackers and decarbonize the chemicals industry. One year down the line, both the companies have made a breakthrough.

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The joint e-cracking programe can help accelerate the decarbonization of Shell’s chemicals plants. Pictured: Shell Moerdijk, The Netherlands.
The joint e-cracking programe can help accelerate the decarbonization of Shell’s chemicals plants. Pictured: Shell Moerdijk, The Netherlands.
(Source: Shell)

London/UK – Following the announcement of a joint development agreement in June 2020, Dow and Shell have recently reported progress on their technology program to electrically heat steam cracker furnaces. This new route has the potential to significantly reduce CO₂ emissions from one of the central processes of the chemical industry.

The companies confirm that the joint program has been awarded 4.2 million dollars under the MOOI (Mission-driven Research, Development and Innovation subsidy) scheme funding by the Netherlands Government. They also announced joining forces with The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT). This multi-company collaboration aims to accelerate key milestones for the near-term progress and longer-term breakthroughs needed.

The companies confirm that the joint program has been awarded 4.2 million dollars under the MOOI (Mission-driven Research, Development and Innovation subsidy) scheme funding by the Netherlands Government.

In the first year, the program has advanced electrification solutions for today’s steam crackers while also pursuing game-changing technologies for novel designs of electrified crackers in the longer-term. The dual-path approach aims to support emission reductions required to meet the companies’ 2030 CO₂ ambitions and their targets to achieve net zero emissions businesses by 2050 or sooner, in line with the Paris agreement.

Joint teams in the Netherlands and the United States have deployed their expertise in electrical design, metallurgy, hydrocarbon technology and computational fluid dynamics to narrow down concepts, validate emissions benefits, advance patents, demonstrate the durability of electric heating elements, and partner with equipment suppliers.

The companies are now evaluating the construction of a multi-megawatt pilot plant, with potential start-up in 2025, subject to investment support. The two new collaborators bring further expertise and a common commitment to a low-carbon future. TNO has deep knowledge in high temperature heat transfer applications and plays a leading role in identifying innovative electrical technologies that could be deployed in the industry.

It is a founding partner of the state-of-the-art Field Laboratory Industrial Electrification in Rotterdam. ISPT is focused on the system integration of preferred concepts, connecting the dynamics of breakthrough technologies with those of utilities and infrastructure in the chemicals industry through the energy transition.

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