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BASF Receives Approval for 400,000 Metric Tons Per Year MDI Project in China

Published on 2011-03-25. Author : SpecialChem

Chongqing , China -- BASF, the world's leading chemical company, has received approval for a 400,000 metric tons per year MDI (diphenylmethane diisocyanate) project in Chongqing, China. The investment will total RMB 8 billion (approximately €860 million). The facility, which will produce a core component mainly used for polyurethane foams, is expected to start up by 2014.

The project was approved by Chinese authorities, following a stringent examination of environmental, health and safety standards, two rounds of local public consultation and several expert reviews. This state-of-the-art facility will consist of an MDI plant, a nitrobenzene plant and an aniline plant, and will cover 40 hectares. It will form the center of an integrated chemical production complex operated by the Chongqing (Changshou) Chemical Industry Park.

Dr. Martin Brudermüller, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE, responsible for Asia Pacific, said, "Chongqing is at the center of a growing inland region. Investing here will give us access to what will be one of the biggest MDI markets in the world. We are applying world-class safety and environmental standards in the construction and operation of our facility, and at the same time we will produce products that have a direct impact on increasing energy efficiency and lowering carbon emissions. Our investment is a pioneering step into western China. With this investment we are supporting the Chinese Government with their plans for rapid and sustainable development in western China."

At the facility, BASF will produce MDI, a core component for versatile polyurethane (PU) products. Polyurethane is used extensively for cold as well as heat insulation applications and is the preferred material for keeping food and medications cold during production, distribution and storage. With its unique insulation properties, PU is used in the majority of refrigerators and freezers, for the insulation of hot water tanks, and for district heating or cooling pipeline insulation. In China, BASF has been producing MDI in Caojing, Shanghai since 2006. The company also has production of MDI in Antwerp, Belgium; Yeosu, Korea; and Geismar, Louisiana.

In addition to the production complex for MDI, BASF is also establishing a new Polyurethane Solutions System House in Chongqing to meet the demand of the growing markets in important industries like construction, appliances, transportation and footwear. The planned System House will have local production with sales, technical service and development personnel to provide fast and competent support to its customers.

"With these steps, BASF is the first global PU player to show a strong commitment to this important and fast growing region of China," said Wayne T. Smith, President of BASF's Polyurethanes division. "Our Polyurethanes Solutions System House will be fully integrated into the new MDI plant which is a significant advantage for our customers. In addition, they will benefit from the know-how and experience of BASF's PU specialists worldwide."

Local employment

BASF estimates that there will be at least 300 permanent jobs created through the BASF facility alone when the plant is operating in full swing. At start-up, a total of 17 plants and businesses in the chemical park will immediately begin operation as key partners or suppliers, forming the nexus of a new industry manufacturing cluster serving multiple, labor-intensive industries.

Focus on safety and environmental protection

Key safety and environmental protection features of the proposed project include full integration into a chemical park and optimized processes to bring very high efficiency and minimal emissions. The complex is an example of BASF's integrated production concept known as "Verbund" in which waste streams are recycled and used as feedstock for chemical production to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact.

BASF has introduced a "five levels of safety for isocyanate production" system based on advanced solutions stemming from decades of experience worldwide to meet strictest local and BASF global environmental and safety standards. BASF works closely with the chemical park to guarantee very high standards for the facilities and management of environmental protection in the area.

Additionally, BASF will implement a "three levels of water protection" system. These processes include water protection measures from other sites BASF has operated for many years near sensitive watercourses such as the Rhine River in Ludwigshafen, Germany, the Schelde River in Antwerp, Belgium (located near the coastline of the North Sea) and the Mississippi River near Geismar, Louisiana.

About BASF Polyurethanes

BASF is the leading supplier of Polyurethane Solutions for systems, specialties and PU basic products. With its global network of 38 polyurethane system houses and its comprehensive product and service portfolio, BASF is the preferred partner of its customers in many industries. With its world-scale plants, BASF secures its leading market position in the production of polyurethane basic products in all regions of the world. Polyurethanes make life more comfortable, safer and more pleasant while helping to save energy sustainably. They contribute towards improved insulation of buildings and more attractive, lightweight design of cars. Producers of shoes, mattresses and household goods as well as sports equipment use the unique advantages of polyurethanes provided with the knowledge and expertise of the polyurethane experts of BASF world-wide.

About BASF Greater China

BASF has been a committed partner to Greater China since 1885. It is one of the biggest foreign investors in the Chinese chemical industry. BASF has about 6,980 employees in Greater China and posted sales of approximately €5.8 billion in 2010. The company operates 23 BASF wholly owned subsidiaries and 16 BASF joint ventures in Greater China.

About BASF

BASF is the world's leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and agricultural products to oil and gas. As a reliable partner BASF creates chemistry to help its customers in virtually all industries to be more successful. With its high-value products and intelligent solutions, BASF plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility. BASF posted sales of about €63.9 billion in 2010 and had approximately 109,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN).

Source: BASF

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