Image credit: RWE

German-based companies BASF and RWE are collaborating on a plan to make industrial production more sustainable and future-proof.

To advance the joint project, the CEOs of BASF and RWE have signed a letter of intent covering a wide-ranging cooperation for the creation of additional capacities for renewable electricity and the use of innovative technologies for climate protection.

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The project envisions an additional offshore wind farm with a capacity of 2GW to provide the BASF Ludwigshafen chemical site with green electricity and enable CO2-free production of hydrogen. The aim is to electrify the production processes for basic chemicals, which are currently based on fossil fuels.

This plan will involve utilising CO2-free technologies such as electrically heated steam cracker furnaces to produce petrochemicals, thereby avoiding around 3.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year, of which 2.8 million tons would be realised directly at BASF in Ludwigshafen. BASF is already working with partners on developing these technologies.

Markus Krebber, CEO of RWE, 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… Of course, there are still some open questions, but we want to push this forward – the faster, the better.”

Both BASF and RWE believe a suitable regulatory framework is needed to make this happen. Important requirements include; a tendering process for offshore project sites, a waver on the EEG levy for green and a regulatory framework that supports CO2-free hydrogen production.

Martin Brudermüller, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, said: “Without the availability of sufficient volumes of electricity from renewable sources at competitive prices, our future transformation will not be possible! This task is only achievable with innovative and intensive cooperation between politics and industry. And it requires collaboration across the value chains. 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.”