By Cameron Chai
BASF, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, has planned to construct a new formic acid manufacturing plant in Geismar, Louisiana. The plant will be located at the company’s integrated Verbund site and will have an annual production capacity of over 50,000 t.
The plant will enable BASF to better serve strategic markets in both North America and South America for a wide range of applications, including cleaning products, leather, animal nutrition, energy and pharmaceuticals. The formic acid production facility is anticipated to commence operation in the Q2, 2014.
Formic acid is used as an eco-friendly product by BASF's customers in various applications, such as animal feed where the material offers protection of the feed and the animal’s health. Formic acid’s salt, potassium formate, is an efficient de-icing agent that is used on airport runways and roads and it is a highly biodegradable formic acid solution protecting marine wildlife in watersheds and rivers. In addition, potassium formate and formic acid are utilized in the oil field industry in the drilling and completion process and in shale gas exploration process. Formic acid is also used as an exceptional de-scaling agent and utilized in industrial cleaning to discard mineral deposits from refineries, desalination plants and other processing sectors.
Soeren Hildebrandt, SVP of Chemical Intermediates division of BASF, remarked that this latest investment will enable BASF to better serve its clients with higher supply reliability and shorter lead times. In addition, it strengthens the company’s global position in the formic acid sector with production operations in Asia, North America and Europe, added Hildebrandt.
Currently, the company owns two formic acid facilities at Verbund sites located in Nanjing, China and Ludwigshafen, Germany. Together, the plants have a production capacity of 255,000 metric tons per year.