BASF is investing in the construction of a production plant for specialty zeolites at its Ludwigshafen headquarters in Germany. The plant is expected to start up operations in the first quarter of 2014, significantly increasing BASF’s production capacity for specialty zeolites.
Zeolites are crystalline aluminosilicates that are found in different molecular structures in nature. Specialty zeolites are crystallized under elevated pressure with the help of organic auxiliary agents. Among other applications, the specialty zeolites produced by BASF’s Chemical Catalysts business are used as key raw materials in the diesel automotive emissions catalysts produced by the company’s Mobile Emissions Catalysts business.
Increasingly stringent automotive emissions regulations such as the US 2010 standard and the upcoming EURO 6 standard are leading to rising demand for advanced exhaust-gas treatment catalysts, such as those produced at BASF’s emissions catalysts production sites in Huntsville, Alabama (USA), Nienburg, Germany, and Shanghai, China.
“This investment allows us to backward integrate our production processes for leading-edge exhaust-gas treatment systems, helping increase our operating efficiency while creating sustainable solutions for cleaner air,” said Dr. Hans-Peter Neumann, BASF Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts and Technologies. “At the same time, we expect strong market demand for specialty zeolites in the years ahead. This new plant and increased production capacity will allow us to address both areas of growth and opportunity, while creating 19 jobs at the Ludwigshafen site.”
In addition to automotive emissions solutions, the new specialty zeolite plant will support applications in the chemical, petrochemical and refining sectors. Dr. Michael Baier, Vice President, Process Catalysts & Technologies, noted that “BASF will be working with leading technology companies in these sectors to provide the products and production expertise that will enable them to improve their existing technologies and to develop advanced new solutions.”
BASF currently produces specialty zeolites at its operating site in Seneca, South Carolina (USA), where production capacity is also being expanded. In addition, the company is running pilot facilities in Ludwigshafen and at its research and development site in Beachwood, Ohio (USA). BASF is currently one of the top five producers of specialty zeolites worldwide.