After a two-year construction phase, BASF today (November 30, 2009) started up a new plant complex for the production of the chemical intermediates cyclopentanone (CPon) and cyclododecanone (CDon) at its Ludwigshafen Verbund site. Kurt Beck, the prime minister of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, attended the inauguration ceremony. The company has invested more than €100 million euros in the facility, which has a total production capacity of approximately 30,000 metric tons per year. The complex will create 48 new jobs in Ludwigshafen.
"The new facility is a very positive event for us - especially in the currently difficult economic climate," said Board member Dr. Harald Schwager. "A plant startup like this shows that we have a long-term perspective at BASF and take well-founded decisions," Schwager added.
The new facility will be the first to use nitrous oxide for industrial-scale oxidation. This greenhouse gas, which is a by-product from another production process, serves as a starting material in the new. The new technology was tailored to the needs of BASF's Verbund system. Along with nitrous oxide, other raw materials from BASF are also used as ingredients. As a result the process is cost-efficient as well as sustainable and easy on the environment.
"The two new products, CDon and CPon, fit in perfectly in our intermediates portfolio. The key factors for success are our innovativeness and BASF's Verbund. Not only does it supply the raw materials we need, it also provides a Know-how Verbund that integrates research, process technology, mechanical and plant engineering," said Dr. Beate Ehle, President of BASF's Intermediates division. BASF needed only five and a half years from the initial idea to plant startup. This is all the more remarkable because the operation uses a novel three-stage production process that had never before been used on an industrial scale.
CDon is the key raw material for producing laurolactam, an intermediate for the high-performance plastic polyamide 12, which in turn is used to make products such as dimensionally stable automotive and engineering components. In addition, CDon is used in the synthesis of musk fragrances and UV stabilizers. CPon is a building block in the synthesis of crop protection products, active ingredients for pharmaceuticals and fragrances, and as a solvent in wafer production.