Chemical and materials company BASF and renewable energy-focused power provider RWE announced today a new collaboration aimed at developing new technologies for climate protection in industrial production.

The companies presented a project idea aiming to electrify the production processes for basic chemicals, which are currently based on fossil fuels. The project envisions an additional offshore wind farm with a capacity of 2 gigawatts (GW) to provide BASF’s Ludwigshafen chemical site with green electricity and enable CO2-free production of hydrogen.

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Steam crackers play a central role in the production of basic chemicals and require a significant amount of energy to break down hydrocarbons into olefins and aromatics, with reactions conducted at temperatures of approximately 850 degrees Celsius. BASF recently announced an agreement with chemical company SABIC and industrial gases company Linde to develop and demonstrate solutions for electrically heated steam cracker furnaces, in a bid to significantly reduce CO2 emissions within the chemical industry. To advance the joint project, the CEOs of BASF and RWE have signed a letter of intent covering a wide-ranging cooperation for the creation of additional capacities for renewable electricity and the use of innovative technologies for climate protection.

According to the companies, the plans could result in the avoidance of around 3.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, of which 2.8 million tons would be realized directly at BASF in Ludwigshafen.

Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE, said:

“Coupling a new offshore wind farm already in the planning stage to an industrial customer such as BASF, who will convert its production to green electricity and hydrogen on this basis, would be a first for Germany. The realization of our proposal would represent a true acceleration of the expansion of renewable energies.”

Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, added:

“Without the availability of sufficient volumes of electricity from renewable sources at competitive prices, our future transformation will not be possible! This task is only achievable with innovative and intensive cooperation between politics and industry. And it requires collaboration across the value chains. In our partnership between RWE as a leading company in power generation and BASF in chemicals, we bring together the necessary prerequisites and the will to shape things.”