BASF, RWE plan to decarbonise the Ludwigshafen chemical site

The partners believe that climate-neutral industrial production ‘made in Germany’ would ensure that value-added and employment remains in Germany and opens up export opportunities for new technologies.

BASF (a German multinational chemical company) and RWE (a German multinational energy company) plan to electrify the production process for basic chemicals at the Ludwigshafen chemical site, which is currently based on fossil fuels. They propose to install a 2 GW wind energy capacity to produce green electricity and carbon-hydrogen.

The plan involves using CO2-free technologies such as electrically heated steam cracker furnaces to produce petrochemicals, where BASF has already been working with partners on developing such technologies.

Both companies have signed a letter of intent to pursue the plan of adding renewable electricity and environmentally friendly technologies. The project can help cut around 3.8 million tonnes/year of CO2 emissions, of which 2.8 million tonnes would be realized directly at BASF in Ludwigshafen, Germany. No public subsidies would be needed for the construction of the wind farm.

Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE, said, “Of course, there are still some open questions, but we want to push this forward – the faster, the better. This is how we will shape the energy transition.”

The plan would require a suitable regulatory framework as there is no regulatory framework for CO2-free hydrogen production. There should also be a tendering process for offshore project sites where the current plans only foresee use after 2030. Moreover, green electricity should also not be subject to EEG levy.

Mr Krebber further added, “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.”

Michael Vassiliadis, Chairman of the Mining, Chemical and Energy Industries Union (IG BCE), said, “Together we want to accelerate the transition to a CO2-neutral chemical industry through electrification and through the use of CO2-free hydrogen.”

Martin Brudermüller, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, said, “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.”

Ethan Mandel

Ethan is the special correspondent for Europe covering the hydrogen industry for H2 Bulletin. Please click on the email icon to contact me via email or follow me on social media. I am reachable on Phone: +44 (0) 208 123 7812
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