Milestone demonstrates significant step toward decarbonising a critical petrochemical manufacturing process

  • The e-cracking furnace experimental unit has been completed and is operational at the Shell Energy Transition Campus Amsterdam.
  • Experimental unit will be used to test and validate critical e-cracker process hardware required for retrofitting today’s gas-fired steam cracker furnaces.
  • Data from the experimental unit will be central to the design and construction of a multi-megawatt pilot plant.
  • Development also continues on novel e-cracking technology which would enable zero carbon emissions cracking at economically competitive costs with conventional crackers.
Amsterdam / London 16 June 2022 – Shell and Dow have started up an experimental unit to electrically heat steam cracker furnaces at the Energy Transition Campus Amsterdam, The Netherlands. This represents a key milestone in the companies’ joint technology programme to electrify steam cracking furnaces, bringing the companies one step closer to decarbonising one of the most carbon intensive aspects of petrochemical manufacturing.

Over the next year, the experimental unit will be used to test a theoretical electrification model developed for retrofitting today’s gas-fired steam cracker furnaces. Data generated by the unit will be used to validate the model and allow the electrification programme to advance to the next phase; the design and construction of a multi-megawatt pilot plant, with potential start-up in 2025, subject to investment support.

Thomas Casparie, Senior Vice President of Shell’s Chemicals and Products business in Europe, said “Today, we have taken a great step forward in helping to decarbonise one of the central processes of our industry, while also supporting Shell’s goal to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050. I look forward to the results of the experimental unit and to continue this vital collaboration with Dow.”

“This milestone demonstrates that low carbon emissions manufacturing technologies are within reach,” said Keith Cleason, Vice President Dow Olefins, Aromatics and Alternatives business. “The collaboration with Shell has the potential to reshape the way our industry manufactures products in future decades.”

As the energy grid becomes increasingly renewables led, using renewable electricity to heat steam cracker furnaces could become one of the routes to decarbonise the chemicals industry. E-cracking furnaces operated using renewable electricity have the potential to reduce 90% of the scope1 emissions at economically competitive costs with conventional crackers.

Last year, the programme was awarded €3.5 million (USD4.2 million) in funding from the Dutch Government and incorporated The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) and the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT). The multi-company collaboration brings technical expertise and a common commitment to a low carbon-future. Furthermore, the collaboration aims to support emission reductions required to meet Shell and Dow’s targets to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
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About Shell Chemicals

Shell’s global chemicals business supplies customers with a range of base, intermediate and performance chemicals used to make products that people use every day. These finished products contribute to society’s ability to live, work, care and respond to climate change. As global demand for chemicals increases, we plan to grow our business, by understanding and providing for our customers’ needs. Our business is versatile and resilient. We have strong market positions, integrated world-scale assets, leading technologies and a commitment to a sustainable future. References to the expressions “Shell”, “Shell’s chemicals business” or “Shell’s chemical plants” refer to multiple companies that are part of the Shell Group that are engaged in chemical or related businesses. For more information, please visit

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines global breadth; asset integration and scale; focused innovation and materials science expertise; leading business positions; and environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership to achieve profitable growth and deliver a sustainable future. The Company’s ambition is to become the most innovative, customer centric, inclusive and sustainable materials science company in the world. Dow’s portfolio of plastics, industrial intermediates, coatings and silicones businesses delivers a broad range of differentiated, science-based products and solutions for its customers in high-growth market segments, such as packaging, infrastructure, mobility and consumer applications. Dow operates 104 manufacturing sites in 31 countries and employs approximately 35,700 people. Dow delivered sales of approximately $55 billion in 2021. References to Dow or the Company mean Dow Inc. and its subsidiaries. For more information, please visit or follow @DowNewsroom on Twitter.

About The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research

TNO connects people and knowledge to create innovations that sustainably strengthen the competitiveness of companies and the well-being of society. That is our mission and more than 3400 TNO professionals work on it every day. We do this together with partners and focus on nine domains, including the energy transition. Together with the industry and the government, we want to accelerate the energy transition so that by 2050 the Netherlands and other countries will have an energy system without CO₂ emissions. The energy transition also offers the Dutch business community the opportunity to lead the way and to export their innovative products and thus contribute to the energy transition worldwide.

About The Institute for Sustainable Process Technology

No circular economy without a sustainable process industry. The industry is the driving force and connector in re-use of residual flows and waste streams, system integration of energy demand, development of hydrogen as feedstock and energy carrier, and so on. Therefore, the Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT) connects stakeholders from different sectors and disciplines in an open innovation platform, where we work together on ground-breaking innovations towards a circular and CO₂-neutral process industry in 2050.