New Ineos cracker in Antwerp to be CO2 neutral by 2036
In the upcoming years Ineos will build an ethane cracker in the port of Antwerp. A multi-billion dollar investment the European chemical industry has not seen in decades. And despite all the criticism, it will be significantly cleaner than any other European cracker. And by the mid-thirties the cracker can be completely carbon neutral, project director John McNally expects.
The new cracker should be operational by 2026. The feedstock is ethane, a by-product of natural gas extraction. As a result of the shale gas revolution, several ethane crackers have already been built in the United States. And in Europe, some crackers have now been modified to include ethane as a feedstock, such as Total’s modified cracker in Antwerp. But there was no specially designed ethane cracker yet. And Ineos is going to change that in the coming years.
It is even possible that the cracker will be completely CO2 neutral by 2036. The installation is designed to run entirely on hydrogen as a fuel. ‘If much more green hydrogen soon becomes available in Antwerp, we will eventually be able to replace the other forty percent as well.’ McNally estimates that after the cracker is commissioned in 2026, it could be a decade before there is enough affordable green hydrogen available. ‘I can’t really estimate that well, of course. Things could go very quickly with hydrogen. And perhaps blue hydrogen, in which the CO2 is captured and stored, could also play a role. And I would not rule out import from countries where hydrogen can be produced relatively cheaply.’