BASF-YPC Boosting Ethanolamine Output

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An expansion of the Nanjing, China, petrochemical joint venture between BASF and Sinopec will bring the site’s capacity for ethanolamine production to 55,000 metric tons per year, according to a statement this week by the local government.

The joint venture, named BASF-YPC Co. after Sinopec’s Yangzi Petrochemical Co., opened in 2005 and has gone through a number of expansions. Last August the companies agreed to proceed with a large project that would increase output of ethanolamines, along purified ethylene oxide, ethyleneamines, propionic acid and propionic aldehyde, while also introducing a plant to make tert-butyl acrylate.

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The companies did not disclose capacities at that time, but Nanjing officials this week hosted an online event featuring signing ceremonies for a number of local economic development projects, including the BASF-YPC expansion. It stated that the site’s ethanolamine production capacity after the project will be 55,000 t/y. It also listed the post-project capacities for other materials, including 200,000 t/y for purified ethylene oxide.

BASF could not be reached for comment.

Ethanolamines are used for a variety of applications, including as intermediates in the preparation of water-soluble lubricants, emulsifiers, proprietary corrosion inhibitors and biocides.

Ethylene oxide is a building block used to make ethanolamines and some of the other chemicals produced at the Nanjing site. The joint venture is one of six partly or wholly owned Verbund sites that BASF is involved with around the world. These are large petrochemical complexes designed on the principal of using energy and infrastructure efficiently to make products ranging from basic to specialty chemicals.

BASF is building a seventh Verbund complex in Zhanjiang, in southern China’s Guangdong province. The first units are scheduled to open this year and next.

BASF is one of a number of companies that have been investing in ethanolamine capacity in recent years.

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