BASF announced that it will build the largest production facility for the manufacture of polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF), a polymer fibre used in the textile industry. The plant will be built in the newly developed Shanghai Chemical Industry Park (SCIP) in Shanghai, China.
The plant will be wholly owned by BASF and will have an annual capacity of 60,000 tons of PolyTHF and 80,000 tons of THF. It will be the largest PolyTHF plant in the world when complete in 2004. The environmental assessment has already been approved, while the economic feasibility study has been submitted to the Chinese authorities.
The plant will utilise BASF’s proprietary technology to convert butane directly into THF and PolyTHF. Output from the plant will supply the rapidly expanding spandex fibres market in China.
The entry of China into the WTO, almost assures the growth of the textile fibres industry. BASF also have plans to construct a polyurethane plant in China, in conjunction with Huntsman and other Chinese partners.