Solutions for electrically heated steam cracker furnaces are the focus of a joint development agreement inked by BASF, SABIC and Linde. The partners have already collaborated on concepts related to using renewable electricity rather than the fossil fuel gas typically used for the heating process.

Steam crackers play a key role in the production of basic chemicals and require significant energy to break down hydrocarbons into olefins and aromatics. The reaction is conducted at temperatures of approximately 1560°F (850°C) in furnaces that burn fossil fuels.

The project seeks to reduce CO2 emissions by powering the process with electricity. By using electricity from renewable sources, the technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 90 percent, say the collaborators.

BASF and SABIC have combined their intellectual property in developing chemical processes together with their experience and knowledge in operating steam crackers. Linde contributed its intellectual property, expertise in developing and building steam cracking furnace technologies and driving future industry commercialization.