Coolbrook and Linde Collaborate on Cracker Electrification

14.03.2023 - Finnish technology and engineering company Coolbrook has signed a partnership agreement with Germany’s Linde Engineering to develop and deploy its RotoDynamic Reactor (RDR) technology that replaces fossil fuels with clean electricity for heating the furnaces in ethylene crackers.

Coolbrook’s goal is to establish its patented RDR technology as the industry standard by 2030, aiming to reduce global CO2 emissions by roughly 200 million t/y. The technology can be integrated within existing ethylene plants as well as  greenfield projects.

“This collaboration is another major step in our strategic aim to build a committed and comprehensive ecosystem around Coolbrook’s RotoDynamic technology to enable the fast commercial implementation at industrial scale,” said Coolbrook executive chairman Ilpo Kuokkanen.

Under the terms of the deal, Coolbrook will be responsible for the RDR package that comprises the actual unit, its electric drive and the first stage of product cooling equipment. Linde will lead the technology’s integration into the wider process unit, including the mass and energy integration with the downstream plant and any related engineering or design activities.

The technology is currently being installed in a large-scale pilot unit in the Netherlands, with first commercial demonstration projects at customer sites expected to be operational in 2024 and full commercial deployment to start around 2025.

In a separate announcement, Coolbrook said it has also signed an agreement with SABIC, in which the Saudi petrochemicals and plastics giant will assess the RDR technology for decarbonizing its ethylene production.

SABIC is already working with BASF and Linde to develop electrically powered steam cracking and anticipates commissioning a first commercial-scale demonstration facility later in 2023. The plant is being integrated into one of BASF’s steam crackers in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Within the next several years, the Saudi group aims to have a full commercial-scale electrical cracking furnace in operation at one of its manufacturing facilities.

Last month, Coolbrook revealed that it is also cooperating with Brazilian petrochemicals group Braskem. The two partners will jointly implement a pilot project so that Braskem can assess the technology before introducing it into its crackers. 

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist