BASF Increases Carboxylic Acid Capacity


BASF increased its global production capacity for isononanoic acid and 2-ethylhexanoic acid – considered higher carboxylic acids – the company announced last week. Carboxylic acids are used in the manufacturing of lubricant esters.

The Ludwigshafen, Germany-based chemical company said global capacity increased almost 24 percent from 55,000 metric tons per year to 68,000 t/y, putting it among the leading producers of higher carboxylic acids globally, it claims. Earlier this month, fellow German chemical company Oxea announced its own expansion to carboxylic acid production in the form of a sixth plant, increasing its global capacity to 180,000 t/y.

BASF has production facilities at its Verbund sites in Ludwigshafen, and in Kuantan, Malaysia. The company did not disclose the cost of the expansion nor reveal details regarding how the expansion was achieved.

This expansion is the consequent next step to increase the availability of [higher carboxylic acids] at our regional Verbund sites, Andrea Frenzel, president of the BASF intermediates division, said in the press release. With this we are following our investment in [2-ethylhexanoic acid] in Kuantan from 2016, particularly for INA to complement our European production.

Isononanoic acids can be used for synthetic lubricants in the aviation industry, and 2-ethylhexanoic acid is used as a building block in certain formulations for the production of lubricants, among other things, according to BASF.

Frenzel said the companys carboxylic acids are used in the refrigeration industry. Isononanoic acids are used as a building block in synthetic refrigeration oils, demand for which is rising due to initiatives to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons.

The Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to stop using substances harmful to the ozone layer, is one of those initiatives. It calls for countries phase out the use of chlorofluorocarbons, which were widely used in refrigerants but later found to create holes in the ozone layer.

HFCs were an initial substitute, but their status as greenhouse gases made them a target of efforts to combat global warming, though they arent directly harmful to the ozone layer. The Kigali amendment of the Montreal Protocol, which took effect Jan. 1, mandates that most developed countries cut their HFC production by 80 percent by 2045.