By Cameron Chai
BASF, the chemicals manufacturing company, has made an investment in the establishment of a production facility for specialty zeolites at its headquarters at Ludwigshafen in Germany.
Operations at the plant are scheduled to commence by the first quarter of 2014. The move to set up this new facility has a two-pronged objective. One is to capitalize on the growing demand for zeolites in the environmental and petrochemical industries. The second is a backward integration to meet BASF’s own requirement for specialty zeolites in their emission catalyst production. The new facility will make a significant contribution to BASF’s overall specialty zeolites capacity.
Zeolites are aluminosilicates in crystalline form that exist in varied molecular structures in nature. Specialty zeolites are those that are crystallized using organic auxiliary agents under high pressure. The specialty zeolites manufactured by the chemical catalysts business of BASF are feedstock for the diesel automotive emissions catalyst manufactured by the company’s mobile emission catalyst business. BASF manufactures these emission catalysts for exhaust gas treatment at its manufacturing facilities in Shanghai, China; Nienburg, Germany; Huntsville, Alabama, US. The demand for emission catalysts has risen rapidly owing to stringent regulations pertaining to automotive emissions such as the Euro 6 Standards and the US 2010 Standard.
The new specialty zeolites facility is also expected to cater to the petrochemical, chemical and refining industries and BASF will work closely with companies in these industries to engineer advanced solutions. The new facility will generate 19 new jobs at the Ludwigshafen site. BASF is amongst the top five specialty zeolite producers worldwide.