BASF breaks ground for its new production plant for sodium methylate in Guaratinguetá, Brazil, its largest site in South America. The plant will have a capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year and is primarily intended to supply the regional market. It is the second BASF plant for this product, in addition to a plant in Ludwigshafen.
The project will involve a capital expenditure in the low double-digit million Euro range.
Sodium methylate is an efficient and reliable catalyst for the production of biodiesel, which has developed into an important and increasing alternative for diesel fuels in the past years. Biodiesel meets the requirements of engine manufacturers for high-quality fuels.
"With the construction of our sodium methylate plant we want to expand our strong position to meet the future demand of our customers in the fast growing market for biodiesel in South America", said Stefano Pigozzi, President of BASF's Inorganics division during the ceremony.
BASF expects about 15 percent of the annual global demand for biodiesel, which is about 30 million tons, to come from South America in 2015.
"This development and the investment in a new plant show the significance of biodiesel as well as BASF's commitment to this market and region. Our Guaratinguetá site offers synergies with existing plants and utilities, as well as logistics advantages for import and export operations to our customers," added Dr. Rolf-Dieter Acker, BASF President of South America.
The plant is expected to be operational from the end of 2011 onwards.
Legislation in Brazil requires fuel to contain 5 percent biodiesel from 2010 onwards. Argentina has also mandated that biodiesel makes up 5 percent of fuel by 2010. Other South American countries have similar legislation.