HOUSTON (June 12, 1:10 p.m. ET) — LyondellBasell Industries NV received a $4.5 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop catalyst-assisted ethane cracking technology that is more energy-efficent and environmentally friendly.
The Rotterdam, Netherlands-based firm is partnering with Quantiam Technologies Inc. and BASF Qtech Inc. to develop the new technology in a three-part program over the next three years.
The system will build on BASF Qtech Inc.'s existing technology for ethane and naphtha-fed catalytic coating technology for steam crackers, by extending the benefits to ethane and natural gas liquid-fed steam crackers.
The project's estimated cost, in addition to the DOE grant, is $2.2 million.
LyondellBasell said the new technology will lower the cost of energy production and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Access to low-cost ethane from shale gas over the past three years has changed the competitive position of the U.S. chemical industry. We have an opportunity to further this advantage through greater energy efficiencies in our manufacturing processes,” said Tim Roberts, LyondellBasell's senior vice president of olefins and polyolefins in the Americas, in a news release.
The company, which has North American headquarters in Houston, has six steam cracking units in the U.S. and said it can produce ethane and natural gas liquids for up to 85 percent of its feedstocks. It is the world's largest producer of polypropylene and polypropylene compounds, and a leading maker of propylene oxide, polyethylene, ethylene and propylene.
Quantiam, a manufacturing technology company based in Edmonton, Alberta, partnered with BASF Canda Inc., an affiliate of Florham Park, N.J.-based BASF Corp., to form BASF QTech. BASF's catalysts division in Iselin, N.J., will handle marketing and sales.
The business, which operates as an independent entity, focuses on commercializing advanced catalytic surface coatings for steam cracker furnace tubes.
On June 12, the DOE awarded more than $54 million in grants to 13 projects aimed at increasing energy efficiency and reducing the cost of U.S. manufacturing.