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ABB and Coolbrook to reduce petrochemical market emissions

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

ABB and Finnish technology company, Coolbrook, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to commercialise and accelerate the adoption of Roto Dynamic Reactor (RDR) technology in a bid to significantly reduce GHG emissions in steam cracking plants. The agreement will unite the two companies’ expertise and create a combined offering of Coolbrook’s novel electrically driven RDR technology and ABB’s integrated, pre-engineered energy solutions, initially for use in petrochemical and chemical markets.

Olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, are the key raw materials used in the chemical industry – primarily for polymer production. Currently, the leading technology for olefin production is steam cracking by high-temperature pyrolysis (thermal decomposition) of primarily hydrocarbon feedstock, diluted with steam inside a cracking furnace.

Coolbrook’s novel turbomachine will be able to replace a conventional furnace by directly imparting the rotor shaft’s mechanical energy to the hydrocarbon fluid. This is achieved by aerodynamic action through a rotating blade flow. When powered by electricity from renewable sources, the technology completely eliminates CO2 emissions in the steam cracking process. Coolbrook technology can also be operated with various feedstocks, including recycled and renewable feedstocks.

This technology will be underpinned by ABB’s expertise in delivering automation, electrification and digitalisation to optimise operational processes and simplify integration. ABB will further enhance the energy efficiency of Coolbrook’s solution through the integration of its electric motors and variable speed drives. The combined ABB and Coolbrook offering will facilitate and accelerate the uptake of this groundbreaking technology, enabling petrochemical and olefin producers to meet their net zero ambitions.

According to the International Energy Agency’s ‘Tracking Industry 2021’ report, direct global CO2 emissions from chemicals and petrochemical processes amounted to 1.2 billion t in 2020. Electrifying process industries will significantly reduce carbon emissions, and ABB has committed to support their customers in reducing its annual CO2 emissions by 100 million t by 2030.

Applying a standardised and modular approach, the collaboration 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. As a result, chemical producers will benefit from increased operational yields, lower operating costs, easier maintenance and lower capital costs.

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