🏭 No more boat emissions
BASF wants to capture maritime CO2 and Encina's pilot plant is doing well
Good morning. Does anyone who reads this work on amine-based solutions for CO2 capture? Wondering if you could shed some light on who dominates this space from a process technology POV.
From the condenser:
· BASF wants to capture maritime CO2
· Encina's pilot plant is doing well
· MOTD: propylene
BASF wants to capture CO2 on boats
German chemical giant, BASF, and shipbuilder, Samsung Heavy Industries (SHI), are going to explore the feasibility of capturing CO2 on SHI's shipping vessels.
The background you need:
When it comes to CO2 capture, there is really only one proven method of getting it done: the selective absorption of CO2 into aqueous amine-based solution and subsequent desorption. It's roughly the same process we use to remove CO2 (and hydrogen sulfide) from natural gas. Anyways, it's not that other methods don't exist—it's just that none have been implemented at scale. Air Liquide's soon-to-be-deployed process, 8 Rivers Capital's cryogenic process, and Carbon Engineering's direct air capture process should come to mind.
So, what's the deal here?
BASF has a proprietary aqueous amine-based solution that is particularly well-suited for post-combustion carbon capture. It's probably some sort of blend (like a MEA and TEA combo) that reduces energy requirements (for CO2 desorption) and amine degradation. SHI wants to know if BASF can squeeze it onto one of their boats, and BASF wants to know if it can start licensing its technology to a brand new market.
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is requiring international shippers to reduce their emissions intensity by 40% by 2030. Hitting that goal is probably going to require CO2 capture unless the maritime industry starts using totally different fuels. Methanol and ammonia are the top contenders, but neither of those potential fuels will be chosen if strapping on CO2 capture is cheaper than retrofitting engines.
Encina apparently has a pilot plant
US-based recycling start-up, Encina, has announced that its pilot site in San Antonio, Texas has started production of high purity aromatics from mixed plastic waste.
Catching you up:
Like most of these plastic recycling start-ups, the first time we started hearing about Encina was when they started signing deals with larger chemical companies. For Encina, that was when they agreed to partner with Braskem on a site in the northeastern US in 2020. Then, this past April, Encina announced plans to build a $1.1 billion molecular recycling site in Pennsylvania (they didn't mention Braskem in that announcement, so it's not clear if that partnership is still on the table).
What makes Encina different:
Usually when we talk about molecular recycling we're talking about the production of pyrolysis oil from mixed plastic waste. The idea being that you can feed that pyrolysis oil into existing steam crackers to make more monomers. Encina is looking to go a bit further downstream than pyrolysis oil—they want to depolymerize mixed plastic waste with a fluidized bed cracker—which is expected to make a large fraction of aromatics (specifically benzene, toluene, and xylene) and propylene (which is why Braskem was interested).
For some reason, Encina has failed to mention this pilot site on their website or in any of their previous press releases. Given the complexity of the project they are trying to undertake, and that unsettling lack of transparency, it's easy to be skeptical about whether this site in Pennsylvania will actually happen. Hopefully they'll post construction photos like Origin Materials so we see some real, tangible progress. For what it's worth, it does seem like the project is coming along, they signed a FEED deal just a few weeks ago.
Some more headlines:
- Ineos Styrolution is offering a suite of sustainable polystyrene options
- Aemetis let us know that they are on schedule for their new SAF and renewable diesel plant
- Milliken's new clarifier plant is about to start-up
- Piedemont Lithium has decided to build a lithium hydroxide plant in Tennessee
- LyondellBasell just bagged another licensing deal for its HDPE and EVA technologies
Molecule of The Day:
Today's MOTD is worth telling your friends about, it's propylene.
This molecule rose to fame shortly after two scientists at the Phillips Petroleum Company discovered that propylene can be used to make a valuable white solid in 1951. Over the course of the next few decades the demand for polypropylene (PP) made its monomer the second most popular olefin globally.
Today, the world produces over 110 million tons of the stuff each year. About 75% of it is made with steam crackers and FCC, and over two-thirds of it is used to make PP. The rest of that propylene is useful as well—7% of it becomes PO, 7% oxo alcohols, 6% acrylonitrile, 4% acrylic acid, and 4% cumene (more details can be found here).
The main companies producing all this propylene include SABIC, Dow Chemical, BASF, and basically any other company with a steam cracker or two.
In case you're interested:
- Guide: If you’ve been looking for a breakdown of biobased fuels, then look no further.
- Tip: Trying to understand the stock market? The Average Joe boils it down so the everyday investor can keep up.*
- Course: Want to understand the major refining units like crackers and reformers? This will walk you throughall of it.*
- Safety Moment: Chevron's Richmond Refinery caught fire in 2012—take a moment to learn why.
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