Dow unveils plans for net-zero ethylene plant for Alberta

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Dow Inc. unveiled plans on Wednesday to build a net-zero carbon emissions ethylene and derivatives facility near Edmonton, marking what the provincial government says could be the largest investment in the province in more than a decade. 

The U.S.-based company said it chose Alberta for the project as it offers competitive energy and feedstock prices and has access to third-party carbon storage facilities that will help the project reach net-zero emissions. Dow says it will be the first facility of its kind in the world.

The project would more than triple Dow’s ethylene and  polyethylene capacity at its Fort Saskatchewan site, while retrofitting the site’s existing assets to produce net-zero carbon emissions.

The project will help Dow produce about 3.2 million metric tonnes of certified low- to zero-carbon emissions polyethylene and ethylene derivatives.

Ethylene, often made using natural gas as a feedstock, is a building block in plastic and can be found in a range of products, from bottles to textiles to medical devices and clothing.

The company has not disclosed a total investment figure for the project, which is dependent on obtaining board and regulatory approvals.

But Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the project could become the largest investment in the province in more than a decade. 

“If this project receives regulatory approval and a positive final investment decision, it will lead to a multibillion-dollar investment in our economy and huge job opportunities in both the construction and operating phases,” Kenney said in a statement.

Last year, Dow said that by 2030, it would reduce its net  annual carbon emissions by five million metric tons versus its 2020  baseline, amounting to a 15 per cent reduction, and set a target to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The chemicals maker, once part of DowDupont, joins a growing  list of companies that have announced plans to cut emissions and reduce carbon footprints following pressure from investors.

Net-zero plans require companies to decrease carbon dioxide emissions and offset any remaining emissions using projects that capture the gas.