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BASF receives LES Award in the U.S.A.


* Cooperation with University of Alabama awarded

* Joint cellulose research

* Sustainable alternatives for cellulose extraction

BASF and the University of Alabama (UoA) have been jointly awarded the renowned LES (Licensing Executive Society) 2006 Deals of Distinction Award for the Chemical, Energy and Materials Industry Sector. UoA has granted exclusive patent licenses to BASF for the use of ionic liquids in conjunction with dissolution of cellulose. The dissolving of cellulose by ionic liquids will provide new processes that utilize cellulose and create potential for improvement, thus enhancing the long-term environmental compatibility and cutting costs of these processes. The award ceremony will take place in New York City on September 13, 2006.

The second annual LES Deals of Distinction Award is part of a program that aims to recognize worthy licensing deals and to foster creative and innovative solutions in deals involving cooperation contracts. Candidates are nominated by the LES Executive Committee, which is comprised of distinguished business executives, lawyers, engineers, academicians, scientists and government officials. Criteria for the awards include distinctive deals in structure or objective, with at least one party having a presence in the U.S.A. or in Canada. Last year’s “Chemicals, Energy and Materials Sector Award” was granted to NASA’s Glenn Research Center with GLITeC, Maverick Corp and Triton Systems Inc. as a cooperation partner.

“The licensing deal between BASF and University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa demonstrates how licensing creates new partnerships in the chemical industry to develop new ”green“ products and processes. LES Chemical, Energy and Materials Sector is pleased to honor BASF and the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa for their innovative collaboration in a critical area of chemical processing” said Bob Payne, Chair of the LES Chemical, Energy and Materials Sector.

In 2005, BASF received the “IChemE Award” from the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), the British association of chemical and process engineers, for the development and application of its innovative ionic liquids. BASF was also honored with the 2004 “Innovation Award” of the “European Chemical News” trade journal for its ionic liquids.

Cooperation creates alternatives for cellulose extraction

Since 2005, BASF has maintained a research cooperation with the University of Alabama to study the use of ionic liquids for dissolving and processing cellulose. Under this partnership the company has licensed the exclusive use of various intellectual property rights. BASF and UoA will continue to develop this specific application for use in practice. BASF is among the most important global suppliers in the field of innovative ionic liquids, just as the UoA research team headed by Professor Robin Rogers plays a globally leading role in the research of this specific chemistry.

Occurring at a volume of some 700 billion tons, cellulose is the earth’s most widespread natural organic chemical and, thus, highly important as a biorenewable resource. But even out of the 40 billion tons nature renews every year, only 0.1 billion tons are used as feedstock for further processing.

A more intensive exploitation of cellulose as a biorenewable feedstock has to date been prevented by the lack of a suitable solvent that can be used in chemical processes. Real solutions of cellulose can now be produced for the first time in technically useful concentrations by utilizing ionic liquids. This new technology, therefore, opens up great potential for cellulose processing.

BASF is in the process of evaluating a variety of ideas that might improve the use of cellulose. For example, making cellulose fiber from so-called dissolving pulp currently involves the use, and subsequent disposal, of great volumes of various chemical additives. A total of some 600,000 metric tons of carbon disulfide (CS2) is consumed each year for this application. For each ton of cellulose fiber, there are more than two tons of waste substances. Major volumes of wastewater are also produced for process reasons and need to be disposed of. These processes can be greatly simplified by the use of ionic liquids, which serve as solvents and are nearly entirely recycled. This can clearly reduce the amount of additives needed.

“By combining our knowledge of innovative ionic liquids with the specific expertise the University of Alabama possesses in the field of cellulose products, we are progressing into a fascinating area,” says Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, BASF’s Research Executive Director, and adds: “The intelligent use of ionic liquids in this field can lead to the sustainable long-term conservation of resources. We aim our development work at the entire range of applications in the cellulose market. We intend to tap this potential fast and purposefully by developing this new activity together with our customers and our research partner.”

Licensing Executives Society (LES)

Established in 1965, the Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc. (LES) is a professional society comprised of over 6,000 members engaged in the transfer, use, development, manufacture and marketing of intellectual property. The LES membership includes a wide range of professionals, including business executives, lawyers, licensing consultants, engineers, academicians, scientists and government officials. Many large corporations, professional firms, and universities comprise the Society’s membership. Licensing Executives Society (U.S.A. and Canada), Inc. is a member society of the Licensing Executives Society International, Inc. (LESI), with a worldwide membership of over 12,000 members in 30 national societies, representing over 80 countries.


The operating division Intermediates of the BASF Group develops, produces and markets the world’s largest range of intermediates. The most important of the division’s more than 600 products include amines, diols, polyalcohols and acids. Among other applications, intermediates are used as starting materials for coatings, plastics, pharmaceuticals, textile fibers, detergents and crop protection agents. Innovative BASF intermediates help to improve the properties of the final product and the efficiency of production processes. The ISO 9001:2000-certified operating division Intermediates has access to plants at production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In 2005, this BASF operating division with 2,665 employees generated world sales of above 2 billion euros. For more information, go to


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