Steamcrackers are large and complex units at the heart of petrochemical complexes, producing the important bulk building blocks ethylene, propylene, butadiene, aromatics, and acetylene. They involve cracking hydrocarbon feedstocks in the presence of steam and at temperatures of between 800 and 860°C. The resulting cracked gas is separated into valuable products such as ethylene, propylene, acetylene, butadiene, pyrolysis gasoline and BTX, all according to the specifications for downstream processes.
The technology for steamcracking was developed over 50 years ago. Since then, it has been continually scaled up and optimised to meet today's economic and ecological requirements. Linde Engineering is one of the few technology contractors that can deliver the technology, engineering, procurement and construction (T-EPC) services forethylene plants. To date, the company has built more than 60 plants the world over.
Modern steamcrackers can produce up to 1.5 million tons of ethylene per year and 600,000 tons of propylene per year. These plants have fired duties of over 800 MW and include process steps for cracking, quenching, compression, washing, hydrogenation, condensation, and cryogenic fractionation in more than 300 individual units operating from 1,100 to -100°C.
Modern crackers utilise the latest technologies for emission reduction such as LoNOx burners and catalytic DeNOx systems.