Dow announces plans to upgrade Fort Saskatchewan chemical plant to net-zero facility

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Plans are underway to convert a chemicals manufacturing plant northwest of Edmonton to a net-zero facility.

On Wednesday, American-based materials manufacturer Dow announced its Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., site will be retrofitted to produce net-zero scope 1 and 2 carbon dioxide emissions.

Dow says, if the plan goes forward, its new production process will help convert gas emissions into clean fuel and later store carbon dioxide.

"The project will help Dow take a major step toward reducing net annual carbon emissions by approximately 30 per cent by 2030," Dow Canada president Tyler Edgington told CTV News Edmonton in a written statement. 

The Dow Canada president added the investment would put his company on track to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

According to Dow, the investment will also triple its Fort Saskatchewan plant's ethylene and polyethylene manufacturing capacity. 

The plant's upgrade would include the addition of a new brownfield ethylene cracker that would add approximately 1.8 million metric tons of capacity by 2030, Dow said in a news release. 

The retrofit would also help enable the company to produce and support roughly 3.2 million metric tons of certified low- to zero-carbon emissions polyethylene and ethylene derivatives for customers.

"This development makes sense from both an environmental and financial perspective," said Edgington. "This will enable Dow to produce and supply certified low- to zero-carbon emissions polyethylene and ethylene derivatives for customers and joint venture partners around the globe."

Edglington said the number of jobs created by the project has yet to be determined, but added that the existing site in Fort Saskatchewan employs roughly 1,200 workers during normal operations.

"Today's announcement from Dow is fantastic news for Alberta's economy," Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stated in the Dow news release. 

"If this project proceeds, it could represent one of the largest job-creating investments in Alberta in over a decade. 

"By choosing Alberta to host the world's first net-zero carbon emissions ethylene plant, Dow is highlighting our growing global leadership in emissions-reducing technology like carbon capture utilization and storage, and Alberta's open for business policies."

Dow has yet to disclose the cost of the expansion.