Fuel for Thought
New partnership to reduce emissions in petrochemical sector
Jan 27 2022
ABB and Coolbrook recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to commercialise and encourage the use of Roto Dynamic Reactor (RDR) technology to considerably lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in steam cracking facilities. This partnership will combine the companies’ specialist knowledge to create a joint offering of Coolbrook’s electrically driven RDR technology with ABB’s integrated, pre-engineered energy solutions, with the petrochemical and chemical markets to be targeted first.
Olefins, like ethylene and propylene, are key raw materials ubiquitous to the chemical industry, mainly used for polymer production. The current most widely used technology for producing olefins is steam cracking through high-temperature pyrolysis (thermal decomposition) of mainly hydrocarbon feedstock, diluted with steam inside a cracking furnace.
Coolbrook’s unique turbomachine can replace standard furnaces by directly relaying the rotor shaft’s mechanical energy to the hydrocarbon fluid by aerodynamic action through a rotating blade flow. Once powered by electricity from renewable sources, the steam cracking process’ CO2 emissions are totally eliminated. Coolbrook’s technology can be operated with a variety of feedstocks, including recycled and renewable materials.
This innovative RDR technology will be supported by ABB’s expertise in providing automation, electrification and digitalisation to enhance operational processes and simplify integration. ABB will further improve the energy efficiency of Coolbrook’s solution by integrating their electric motors and variable speed drives. The joint ABB and Coolbrook technology will increase uptake of this cutting-edge technology, helping petrochemical and olefin producers to reach their net zero targets.
The International Energy Agency’s ‘Tracking Industry 2021’ report stated that direct global CO2 emissions from chemical and petrochemical processes accounted for 1.2 billion metric tons in 2020. Electrifying process industries reduces carbon emissions considerably; furthermore ABB has made a committment to support their customers in lowering their yearly carbon dioxide emissions by 100 million metric tons by 2030.
Applying a standardised and modular approach, this partnership will support customers from FEED stage and incorporate RDR package, electric motor and drive, automation, safety, power distribution, instrumentation and analysers, condition monitoring and full digitalisation. Therefore, chemical producers will achieve higher operational yields, reduced operational and capital costs and easier maintenance procedures.
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