IMPROOF Integrated model guided process optimization of steam cracking furnaces

Welcome to IMPROOF

IMPROOF is a European project aiming at improving the energy efficiency of steam cracking furnaces, while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and NOx. The strongly industrial oriented consortium is composed of 7 industrial partners, including 2 SME completed by 2 RTO and 2 Universities, showing a clear and strong path to the industrial and economical world.


Start date: 1 September, 2016
End date: 31 August, 2020'




  • Objectives

The objective of IMPROOF is to drastically improve the energy efficiency of steam cracking furnaces by at least 20%, in a cost effective way, while simultaneously reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and NOx per ton ethylene produced by at least 25%.

One important way to reduce the energy input in steam cracking furnaces is to reduce coke formation on the reactor wall. The use of either advanced coil materials, combined with 3D reactor designs, improved process control, and more uniform heat transfer will increase run lengths, reducing simultaneously CO2 emissions and the lifetime of the furnaces.

Biogas and bio-oil will be used as alternative fuels because they are considered renewable, and hence, decrease net CO2 production.

Application of high emissivity coatings on the external surface of the radiant coils will further substantially improve the energy consumption. Less firing is required to reach the same process temperatures in the radiant coils. This will reduce fuel gas consumption and CO2 emissions by 10 to 15%.

IMPROOF will demonstrate the advantage of combining all these technological innovations with an anticipated increase of the time on stream with a factor 3. To select the correct technologies for sustainable implementation in complex plant-wide and industrial data-intensive process systems, all the technology will be implanted in real-plant conditions at TRL6 in DOW.

  • Actions

IMPROOF is organized with 5 technical Work packages (WP).

WP1 : Renewable fuel characterization.
The kinetic of combustion of different fuels in oxygen-rich environment are investigated, with a particular attention to the pollutant formation (CO, NOx and eventually SOx). Both the fossil fuels (natural gas) and renewable fuels, like bio-gas and bio-oil are studied experimentally and numerically.

WP2 : Innovative Furnace System developments and integration
The performance of technologies developed in the project are assessed individually. Emissions from oxy-fuel combustion of classical fuels but also bio-gas and bio-oil are measured on pilot scale. The five different high emissivity coatings are tested. As these technological improvements are not mutual exclusive, combinations of the best performing technologies will be selected to illustrate the multiplier effect.

WP3 : Advanced 3D modelling for the reactor and the furnace
The kinetic models developed in WP1 for combustion are implemented in the CFD tools and validated using the pilot data obtained in WP2. On the other hand advanced modelling of the reactor allows further optimization of existing 3D reactor designs and development of novel 3D geometries.

WP4 : Upscale of the technology – End user business case
The demonstrator is deployed at integrated commercial scale (TRL6) with the most effective technologies improving heat transfer of ethylene furnaces.

WP5 : Integrated evaluation of the system
The impact of the different technological improvements and their combinations is evaluated, based on relevant data of the complete integrated furnace platform.

WP6 : Dissemination and external communication
Plan and monitor communication on project aims and disseminate the results to the divers scientific, industrial and policy communities and to wider audience. The global objective of the activities included in this WP is to prepare and encourage the use and wide acceptance of project results after the end of the project.

WP7: Project Management
The WP will carry out an efficient management of this H2020 project adapted to its specificities. Our aims are to reach the planned ambitious program results and goals but also to position the project durably in its environment and maximize its breakthrough potential and impacts.

“This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723706




26 November 2018

  • On 6-8 May, 2019 " Seventeenth International Conference on Numerical Combustion " to be held in Aachen, Germany
  • On 14-17 April 2019 "European Combustion Meeting", to be held in Lisbon, Portugal
  • On 21-23 of January, 2019 - "The first...
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