The term “Petrochemicals” in the operations of NOVA Chemicals refers to the segment of the business that deals with the production of ethylene feedstock and the production of related energy co-products and chemical co-products that occur in the ethylene process. It can also be described as “Base Chemicals” or “Hydrocarbons”. Of these, most strategic to NOVA Chemicals are the materials used to make polyethylene, the others are co-products. The main production process is steam cracking. NOVA Chemicals has steam crackers in two locations in Canada; at Joffre and Corunna.
NOVA Chemicals is continually investing in its ethylene manufacturing assets and pursues a strategy of astutely acquiring and developing technology which will improve their operation. This R&D program is focused on four main areas:
- Long Term Initiatives - The purpose of this effort is to secure access to potential new technologies that may have a significant impact on olefin industry, and to be aware of trends and new developments in feedstocks utilization, olefin manufacturing, and product separation.
- Feedstock Conversion - Aims at continuous improvement of steam cracking operations in order to remain competitive and efficient in business and technology. Key components are: lower ethylene production cost by extending furnace run length, lower maintenance needs, and lower GHG emissions by limiting coke formation and improving energy efficiency. In the course of our research in this area, NOVA Chemicals has commercialized technology which has achieved all of these goals. An example is ANK 400 (an anti-coking furnace tube product that increases on-stream time for ethylene furnaces).
- Separation and Fouling - Cracking processes make a mix of products that have to be separated. Fouling is a key issue in reliability of petrochemical operations. The objective is to contribute directly to the bottom line by eliminating causes of plant operating problems, increasing safety, and limiting GHG emissions.
- Plant Support - Includes a portfolio of short-term projects that address requests from different plants for support.