German chemicals firm BASF will expand the capacity of ethylene oxide and ethylene oxide derivatives at its site in Antwerp, Belgium. The total investment adds about 400,000 tonnes/year to BASF’s production capacity for the corresponding products with an expected investment amount exceeding EUR500 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 tonnes/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.