In line with its customer-focused corporate strategy, BASF SE (Ludwigshafen, Germany; www.basf.com) will expand the capacity of ethylene oxide and ethylene oxide derivatives at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The total investment adds about 400,000 metric tons per year to BASF’s production capacity for the corresponding products with an expected investment amount exceeding €500 million. “This significant capacity expansion will enable BASF to support the continuous growth of customers in Europe,” says Hartwig Michels, president Petrochemicals, BASF. The sequential start-up is expected to begin in 2022. The expansion comprises an investment in a second world-scale ethylene oxide line, including capacity for purified ethylene oxide.
Additional investments in several ethylene oxide derivatives plants are part of the project and will be pursued in line with the ethylene oxide expansion. These derivatives include non-ionic surfactants, glycol ethers for automotive applications, and various other downstream alkoxylates. “This expansion will benefit our customers by significantly enhancing the supply of our industry leading portfolio of alkoxylates,” says Ralph Schweens, president Care Chemicals, BASF. “The increase of our methyl triglycol capacity enables us to support the growing demand for high-performance brake fluids in Europe and Asia. The increasing number of automated cars, relying on systems such as cruise and distance control, requires brake fluids that perform well – even under tough conditions,” explains Anup Kothari, president Performance Chemicals, BASF.
In Europe, BASF currently operates ethylene oxide plants in Antwerp and Ludwigshafen with a combined capacity of 845,000 metric tons per year. The company is the largest producer of ethylene oxide derivatives in the region. Major ethylene oxide derivatives are non-ionic surfactants, ethanol amines, glycol ethers, polyether polyols and other specialty products used in a wide range of industries such as home and personal care, industrial applications and the automotive industry.
By Gerald Ondrey
Source: Chemical Engineering
France has launched an offshore green hydrogen production platform at the country’s Port of Saint-Nazaire this week, along with its first offshore wind farm. The hydrogen plant, which its operators say is the world’s first facility of its type, coincides with the launch of another “first of its kind” facility in Sweden dedicated to storing hydrogen in an underground lined rock cavern (LRC).
The project sets up the Hydrogen Valley in Rome, the first industrial-scale technological hub for the development of the national supply chain for the production, transport, storage and use of hydrogen for the decarbonization of industrial processes and for sustainable mobility.
At first glance, hydrogen seems to be the perfect solution to our energy needs. It doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide when used. It can store energy for long periods of time. It doesn’t leave behind hazardous waste materials, like nuclear does. And it doesn’t require large swathes of land to be flooded, like hydroelectricity. Seems too good to be true. So…what’s the catch?