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Dow and Shell to Develop Electric Ethylene Cracking Tech

Dow and Shell are collaborating on a new technology that could lower the chemical industry's CO2 emissions.

Chemicals companies Dow and Shell recently signed a joint development agreement to collaborate on the creation and commercialization of electric ethylene cracking technology that could enable the chemicals industry to reduce its CO2 emissions the companies announced in a joint release Tuesday. 

“Steam cracking makes base chemicals, which is transformed into a range of finished products that help society live, work, and respond to climate change,” Thomas Casparie, vice president of Shell’s global chemicals business, said in a statement. “This new work with Dow has the potential to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions from the manufacture of chemicals and to Shell’s ambition of becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050 or sooner.”

Traditional steam crackers use fossil fuels to create heat for furnaces. Now underway, the collaboration between Shell Chemical and Dow aims to develop technology to heat furnaces with renewable electricity.  

“Continuously improving the sustainability of our operations is an inherent part of how we operate at Dow,” said Keith Cleason, vice president for the Dow Olefins, Aromatics and Alternatives business, in the release. “Significant technological breakthroughs are needed to reduce our industry’s energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, which require companies to step out of their comfort zones and work together to achieve bold and ambitious new goals.”

The companies plan to test the new technology in laboratory and pilot environments over the next several years prior to scaling up to commercial-level crackers.  

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