LyondellBasell, Technip and CPChem Sign e-Cracking MOU

06.06.2023 - LyondellBasell, Technip Energies and Chevron Phillips Chemical (CPChem) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to design, build and operate a demonstration unit using Technip’s electric steam cracking furnace technology.

The partners said they plan to sign a joint development agreement for the project over the course of 2023.

LYB’s Channelview, Texas, site offers an optimal environment for the demonstration unit due to its operational excellence, feedstock flexibility and electric grid infrastructure, proximity to the other MOU parties and access to expertise at the company's Houston Technology Center, the companies said.

The olefins and polyolefins producer said that with the new eFurnace technology it hopes to be able to use renewable electricity as a heat source for its olefins cracking process, thereby reducing its greenhouse gas footprint and helping it to meet its ambitious climate targets.

Deployment of an industrial-scale electric cracking furnace is one of several options the Houston-managed company is considering, due to its potential to reduce emissions by up to 90% compared to a conventional furnace, CEO Peter Vanacker said.

Construction of the demonstration unit, a first for LyondellBasell, is a critical pre-condition for potential construction of a full-scale unit, Vanacker noted, as it will allow the company to test the technology and confirm that continuous olefin production is possible using electricity as a heat source.

LYB, which is officially domiciled in the Netherlands, has committed itself to reaching net zero scope 1 and scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 and has set ambitious interim targets to reduce scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions 42%, and scope 3 GHG emissions 30% by 2030, relative to a 2020 baseline.

Commenting on the MoU, Arnaud Pieton, CEO of Technip Energies, pointed to the “huge strides” the French engineering group is making toward reducing CO2 emissions from ethylene production, adding that the work will enable olefins producers to take advantage of the growing supply of available renewable energy to operate the most energy-intensive part of the plant.

Bruce Chinn, president and CEO of CPChem, said the project supports the company’s own efforts toward lowering the carbon intensity of its operations and demonstrates its continued focus on accelerating change for a sustainable future.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist