BASF expands tetrahydrofuran manufacturing capacity at its Ludwigshafen site
* High-purity intermediate from BASF
* Growing demand in pharmaceutical industry
BASF is expanding its annual capacity for the intermediate tetrahydrofuran (THF) by 30,000 tons at its Ludwigshafen site. The expansion will put the company’s total annual THF capacity at 210,000 metric tons from the end of 2007. BASF makes THF in Europe, NAFTA and Asia. Hartwig Michels, who heads the regional Diols and Polyalcohols business unit of BASF’s Intermediates division, said: “This increase in capacity supports our customers’ growth mainly in Europe. We expand our capacity primarily in order to guarantee our ability to meet the growing THF demand of the European pharmaceutical industry.”
THF is especially well suited for use in those complex water-sensitive reactions occurring frequently in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients. These are based on organometallic compounds that disintegrate in contact with water, for example Grignard reagents. BASF is the only supplier in the world that offers high-purity THF with an extremely low residual water content of 0.01% or less. THF also serves as a basis for making PolyTHF®. PolyTHF is an important component in the manufacture of highly elastic spandex fibers for textiles, for example sportswear and swimsuits. Moreover, PolyTHF is a major intermediate for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU), from which BASF’s customers make products like highly abrasion-resistant, yet flexible hoses, films or cable sheathing. Other applications include thermoplastic polyetheresters and polyetheramides or cast elastomers required for the production of wheels for skateboards and inline skates.
The Operating Division Intermediates of the BASF Group develops, produces and markets the world’s largest range of intermediates. Key representatives of the more than 600 products include amines, diols, polyalcohols, acids and specialties. 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 2006, this BASF operating division with 2,600 employees generated world sales of above 2.3 billion euros. For more information, go to www.basf.de/intermediates.
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