For nearly two decades, we have been publishing our environmental performance and other global sustainability data. Our 2021 global ESG report can be found here. On this page we share our annual environmental performance of the Terneuzen location. Below you will find our CO2 emission data for our activities in Terneuzen. We will of course share more information with you. We are currently doing our best to develop this so that an annual overview of our performance can be found here.
Reporting on emissions
CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions are mainly released from combustion processes. The main sources are the furnaces and gas turbines of the crackers and the ELSTA cogeneration plant. The graph below shows our Scope 1 emissions - since taking full ownership of the cogeneration plant in 2018, we no longer have Scope 2 emissions. The cogeneration plant generates electricity for supply to the public grid in addition to steam and electricity for the industrial park. On average, at least 50% of the electricity produced in ELSTA goes into the public grid but depending on market demand it can be more.
CO2 is also released as process emissions in the production of ethylene oxide (EO). The increase in CO2 emissions since 2015 is primarily due to higher electricity production at the ELSTA plant in response to external electricity demand. Dow internal electricity demand is fairly constant, but market demand varies in part due to fluctuations in the amount of wind/solar power generated.
To reduce CO2 emissions Dow has focused primarily on improving the energy efficiency of processes. However, the impact of these measures on the total emissions of the Terneuzen site is limited and within the range of fluctuations caused by variations in production levels.
Towards Climate Neutral
Dow initiated a study of the potential for significant CO2 reductions at the site. This has resulted in a multi-generational plan to make the site climate neutral towards 2050. In the first phase, part of the off-gas (including a mix of methane and hydrogen) produced as a by-product in the crackers will be converted into circular hydrogen and CO2. The hydrogen will then be used as a low-emission fuel instead of the methane and the CO2 will be captured and stored. At a later stage the gas turbines of the crackers will be electrified and there is the possibility to capture and store the CO2 from the EO plant. This plan should lead to a reduction of 1.4 million tons of CO2, rising to 1.7 million tons in 2030, which is over 40% of current CO2 emissions.
The plan fits well into Dow's long-term vision whereby after 2030 the furnaces of the crackers will be electrified. Since no fuel will then be needed for the crackers, the hydrogen can be used elsewhere, for example in the combined heat and power plant to produce low-CO2 electricity and steam or for the production of synthetic naphtha or other chemicals.
In order to be climate neutral by 2050, it is important not only to address our own stack emissions, but also to make our raw materials more sustainable (scope 3 emissions). This can be done by using alternative carbon sources, such as bio naphtha, pyrolysis oil made from plastic waste or synthetic naphtha. Since 2019, Dow has also been supplying a modest hydrogen stream derived from the crackers to Yara. Yara uses this as an alternative feedstock for the production of ammonia, allowing it to reduce its CO2 emissions. Although the export of hydrogen increases CO2 emissions at Dow, the exchange provides a net CO2 reduction for the region.
Comments on the graph below
• Data corrected for full acquisition of ELSTA in 2018.
• Roadmap emissions 2028 – 2050 for illustrative purposes
• Dow reports for other companies operating on its site; direct emissions from third parties are not included in the chart below. The CO2 emissions related to the generation of steam and electricity for third parties are included in CO2 emissions site.
Nitrogen (N2) occurs naturally in large quantities in the air and on its own it is not harmful to humans or the environment, but there are chemical compounds containing nitrogen that can be. These are nitrous oxides (NOx) and ammonia (NH3). In the Netherlands, a number of sectors are responsible for emitting these. Agriculture and transport rank first and second, followed by the industrial, power generation and refining sectors (Emissions of Nitrogen by Sector - RIVM). At Dow Terneuzen, NOx is primarily emitted with less than 1% consisting of NH3.
Nitrous oxides are mainly released during the high-temperature combustion processes when both nitrogen and oxygen are present. There are more than 80 combustion plants at the Dow site where NOx is released with the flue gas from the chimney. The three steam crackers account for about 75% of the total NOx emissions and the ELSTA power facility is responsible for about 20%. In the crackers, we convert raw materials into new products using very high temperatures. Gas turbines are used to drive the chillers that cool the cracking gas. The power plant produces steam and electricity for the production processes. In addition, 50% or more of the electricity produced goes to the public grid, depending on market demand.
Dow Terneuzen emits about 2,200 tonnes of NOx and about 1 tonne of NH3 per year. Granted by the Province of Zeeland, the required environmental permits allowing these emissions are in place.
Note: The graph shows the Nox emissions for Dow Terneuzen and the expected decrease. Due to work on the crackers, emissions in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 are lower than in previous years. A number of third parties operating at the Terneuzen industry park are covered by Dow’s permits. We report all emissions including those from Dow and from these third parties to the relevant government authorities. This graph only shows Dow’s emissions. Due to this there is a discrepancy between the external reporting to the Dutch authorities and the data below.
Dow made large investments in a new generation of ultra low-NOx burners for the crackers between 2010-2014. The superheaters (which heat steam) have been also equipped with the same burners. They enable cleaner combustion, which has permanently reduced NOx emissions from 2014. In addition, the gas turbines in the crackers are fitted with a DeNOx system – which helps lower NOx emissions. Between 2009 and 2011, the gas turbines at the power plant were fitted with a special combustion system (LEC III) reducing emissions further. This has led to a decrease of NOx emissions by around 35% since 2005.
The minimal ammonia emissions are mainly due to the use of NH3 in the DeNOx plant on the squatters' gas turbines.
Since the upgrades to the burners at Dow Terneuzen were completed in 2014, there has been a large reduction in the amount of the NOx emissions. These are now closely connected to the production volume and the amount of electricity generated at the power plant.
Our plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 is central to our Path to Zero roadmap. Divided into three separate phases, it will also enable us to further reduce our nitrogen emissions. In the second phase, we expect to achieve a 10% reduction when the gas turbines are replaced by electric motors. In the third phase, we expect to achieve a reduction of over 60% compared to our current emissions. In this phase, we want to replace the steam crackers with electric crackers, eliminating the combustion process resulting in no NOx being released. This is a new technology we are developing together with Shell.
Ultimately, we will reduce our nitrogen emissions by 75% compared to today.
We report emission data on a regular basis to the relevant authorities, in our case to the DCMR. There are specific rules that describe how companies must measure and/or calculate emissions. This depends in part on the nature of the production process and the type of substance, assuming normal operating conditions. The measurements are done by independent specialized and certified companies with specific equipment, on behalf of Dow or the DCMR.
During an incident it may happen that extra emissions arise from a certain substance. In these cases, measurements are always taken to determine whether there is a risk of exposure to hazardous substances. In addition, the exact amount of emissions is calculated afterwards, taking into account circumstances such as the nature of the incident, its duration, substance properties and weather conditions. The DCMR, often together with Safety Region Zeeland, will check the calculation and the (detailed) supporting explanation.