NOVA Chemicals Ethylene manufacturing complexes are located in Joffre, Alberta and Corunna, Ontario. They utilize steam cracking to convert hydrocarbon feedstocks into ethylene and other basic petrochemicals.
Steam cracking is a petrochemical process in which saturated hydrocarbons are broken down into smaller, often unsaturated, hydorcarbons and hydrogen. It is the principal industrial method for producing the lighter alkenes (or commonly olefins), including ethene (or ethylene).
At Joffre, Alberta the steam crackers that NOVA Chemicals operates are designed to utilize primarily lighter feedstocks such as ethane and propane. The Corunna steam cracker is able to "switch" from using oil-based feedstocks, to using natural gas liquid (NGL) feedstocks. NOVA Chemicals plans to revamp the Corunna plant and study the potential to expand it with the goal of allowing the plant to utilize up to 100% NGL feedstocks.