Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), along with German multinationals BASF and Linde, have commenced construction of the world’s first demonstration plant for large-scale electrically heated steam cracker furnaces, the companies said in a joint statement.

The demonstration plant will be fully integrated into one of the existing steam crackers at BASF’s Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, Germany. 

It will test two different heating concepts, processing around four tonnes of hydrocarbon per hour and consuming six megawatts of renewable electricity/power. 

The start-up of the demonstration plant is targeted for 2023, the statement said.

The three companies aim to jointly develop full-scale commercial production plants to reduce CO2 emissions. 

The investment costs for the pilot will be borne by BASF and SABIC, while BASF will operate the demonstration plant. 

Linde is the engineering, procurement and construction partner for the project.

The project has been granted €14.8 million by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action under its 'Decarbonisation in Industry' funding programme.

The new technology has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions in the chemical industry by 90 percent by using electricity from renewable sources instead of natural gas, the statement said.

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)