Working at full steam

A great deal of energy is required for chemical production. The Verbund structure ensures that energy is used particularly efficiently at the Ludwigshafen site. BASF’s aim is to ensure a secure and reliable supply of energy at competitive prices.

Die neue Gas- und Dampfturbinen-Anlage der BASF am Standort Ludwigshafen ist Spitzenreiter in der industriellen Energieumwandlung. Sie schont Ressourcen und verringert zugleich die CO2-Emissionen um mehr als 500.000 Tonnen pro Jahr. Dies entspricht dem jährlichen CO2-Ausstoß einer Stadt mit 50.000 Einwohnern. Das Prinzip ist einfach: Die entstehende Abgaswärme wird zum Herstellen von Dampf genutzt,  der dann in den Produktionsbetrieben des Werkes für unterschiedlichste chemische Prozesse verwendet wird. So gelingt es der BASF den Standort Ludwigshafen nicht nur optimal, sondern auch klimafreundlich mit Energie zu versorgen.  Abdruck honorarfrei. Copyright by BASF.

BASF’s new combined heat and power (CHP) plant at its Ludwigshafen site is a top performer in industrial energy conversion. It conserves resources and at the same time reduces CO2 emissions by more than 500,000 metric tons per year. This is equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of a town with 50,000 inhabitants. The principle is simple: the waste heat is used to produce steam, which is then used by the site’s production plants for a wide variety of chemical processes. This means BASF not only optimally supplies its Ludwigshafen site with energy but does so in a climate friendly way.  Print free of charge. Copyright by BASF.

There is no production without energy. As well as electricity, in the chemical industry this also means steam in particular. BASF in Ludwigshafen requires a good 20 million metric tons of it every year. Roughly half of it comes from the three power plants at the site. In contrast to conventional power plants, which are only used to generate electricity, they also produce steam as well as electricity. The plants operate according to the principle of combined heat and power generation in which the primary energy is utilized particularly effectively: In the gas and steam turbine power plants, gas is initially burned in the gas turbines to generate electricity. The heat which is produced is then used to generate steam in downstream boilers. This is then also used in part to generate electricity. A large proportion of the steam goes to the production units at the site and is used as process steam in production, for example for drying products, heating reactors or for distillation.

But steam does not just come from the power plants. Roughly half of the demand is catered for from the Energy Verbund. The thermal energy that is produced in exothermic chemical reactions can be converted into steam and provided to other production units via pipelines.

Several thousand kilometers of cable supply the plant with power

Besides steam, large amounts of electrical energy are required at the Ludwigshafen site. The demand is more than 6 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, a good one percent of all the power consumption in Germany. Many thousands of kilometers of cable, mostly laid underground, distribute the electricity around the site. Numerous transformers spread around the plant convert it to the voltage that is required in each of the production units. The electricity that is required in Ludwigshafen is also generated in the three power plants at the BASF site. The principle of combined heat and power generation is also proven to work here. These efficient and resource-friendly technologies allow BASF to cover largely all of its demand for power itself and remain competitive.