Decarbonisation options for the Dutch silicon carbide industry

29-07-2021 | Rapport

This report on decarbonisation options for the Dutch silicon carbide production is part of the MIDDEN project (Manufacturing Industry Decarbonisation Data Exchange Network) initiated by PBL and TNO. The project aims to support industry, policymakers, analysts and the energy sector in their common efforts to achieve deep decarbonisation.

Silicon carbide production in the Netherlands

Silicon carbide (SiC) is a hard synthetically manufactured crystalline composite produced from silica sand or quartz and petroleum coke. Besides being the second hardest synthetic known material, its high thermal conductivity, high-temperature strength, low thermal expansion, and resistance to chemical reactions, make it valuable in many manufacturing industries.

Silicon carbide is a very distinguished material with valuable characteristics used in several applications, both in industry and in daily life products. Due to its physical hardness, it can be used from coarse to very fine in several applications being an essential material in the abrasive processes like grinding, honing, sandblasting, and water jet cutting.

Moreover, this high surface hardness allows it to be used in many engineering applications where a high degree of sliding, erosive and corrosive wear resistance is required.

The Dutch silicon carbide production is formed by the ESD-SIC B.V. industrial site in Farmsum, Delfzijl municipality. The silicon carbide process is intrinsically energy and carbon intensive.

Main decarbonisation alternatives for the silicon carbide sector in the Netherlands

  • feedstock substitution, from current petroleum coke to biocoke;
  • carbon capture and use with methanol/ethanol synthesis;
  • carbon capture and storage;
  • process design changes, mechanical activation, and microwave heating;
  • process substitution with magnesium as reducing element; and
  • recycling.