Dow Inc. announced a plan Wednesday to develop a net-zero carbon emissions ethane cracker for an industrial customer in Alberta as a capacity expansion by its Fort Saskatchewan complex northeast of the provincial capital in Edmonton.

The cracker, fueled by natural gas, would be capable of producing 1.8 million tons/year of ethylene. Environmental renovations of the entire site would be done in stages and completed in 2030, said the Michigan-based petrochemical giant.

“Our government worked very closely with Dow since the spring of 2019 to land this huge project,” said Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. “If this project receives regulatory approval and a positive final decision, it will lead to a multibillion-dollar investment.”

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Alberta boasts the lowest Canadian corporate tax rate. A provincial petrochemical development incentive program covers 12% of costs for new facilities that increase gas consumption as a raw material.

Alberta support is “essential to enabling us to develop this net-zero carbon emissions manufacturing facility,” said Dow Chair Jim Fitterling called. “Canada’s support for this type of investment can serve as a model for how government investment can encourage the development and accelerate adoption of emissions-avoiding technologies and solutions.”

No cost estimates for the project were provided, nor were the estimated natural gas volumes to be used. 

Dow credited the selection of Alberta for its first net-zero emissions complex to the availability of carbon capture, utilization and storage facilities, “attractive government partnerships” and internationally competitive gas prices.

Dow said the Alberta project would build on its success in Freeport, TX, where it has reduced carbon emissions at its newest cracker by 60% from the average for its international chain of plants. The Freeport facility also shaved 20% off industry costs.