10th anniversary of BASF’s neopentyl glycol plant
* World-scale plant was started up in 1997
* Production in Europe, Asia and NAFTA
* Important intermediate for coatings applications
The neopentyl glycol (NPG) plant of BASF at Ludwigshafen has turned 10 this year. BASF had started up a world-scale plant in 1997, replacing a much smaller facility. In 2007, the capacity of this plant was raised by 10,000 metric tons per annum. This expansion is due to the fact that the demand for NPG keeps rising around the globe, mainly in coating applications. BASF is now the only company that has NPG production facilities in Europe, NAFTA and Asia with a total annual capacity of 165,000 metric tons worldwide. The company is a leading NPG manufacturer and offers highly dependable supplies for its customers in the long term thanks to its backward integration.
“We support our customers’ growth regionally in their markets by producing NPG around the world,” said Hartwig Michels, head of the regional Diols and Polyalcohols business unit of BASF’s Intermediates division. He added: “The coatings industry is one of our major outlets for NPG. It is characterized by dynamic innovation, therefore we see many starting points for promising developments on the basis of NPG.” NPG is used in coatings as a tried and tested essential component for eco-efficient powder coating resins. It is also used for unsaturated polyester and alkyd resins, which serve as binders in a variety of liquid coatings.
The NPG success story
The production of NPG started in Ludwigshafen in 1959 with a capacity of below 100 metric tons per annum and was stepped up steadily. Just 16 years later, a new NPG facility with an annual capacity of 12,000 metric tons went on stream. This plant employed a new, environmentally more compatible BASF process that is still in use today. In order to meet the growing demand for NPG in North America as well, BASF started up another NPG plant in Freeport, Texas, in 1980, which has meanwhile been replaced with a world-scale facility. NPG demand has increased considerably in Asia, too, in recent years. BASF JCIC Neopentylglycol Co., Ltd., a 60/40 joint venture company of BASF and Jilin Chemical Industrial Co., Ltd., responded by putting into operation another NPG plant in Jilin, North East China, in 1998.
The BASF Group’s Intermediates division develops, produces and markets the world’s largest range of intermediates containing more than 600 products. The most important of the division’s product groups 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 protectants. Innovative intermediates from BASF help to improve the properties of final products and the efficiency of production processes. The ISO 9001:2000-certified Intermediates division operates plants at production sites in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. In 2006, the division generated world sales of about €2.3 billion with 2,600 employees. For more information, go to www.basf.de/intermediates
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals to crude oil and natural gas. As a reliable partner to virtually all industries, BASF’s high-value products and intelligent system solutions help its customers to be more successful. BASF develops new technologies and uses them to meet the challenges of the future and open up additional market opportunities. It combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility, thus contributing to a better future. BASF has approximately 95,000 employees and posted sales of €52.6 billion (approximately $66.1 billion) in 2006. Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com.
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