BASF Eyes South American Potential

Sustainability concerns, sodium methylate link BASF with Argentina, Brazil
By Luke Geiver | April 21, 2011

BASF has big plans for biodiesel production in South America. “Based on the compulsory blending mandates, Argentina is expected to globally emerge as one of the largest biodiesel markets in the world,” says Anke Muenk, global communications spokesperson for the Inorganic division at BASF. “To solidify its regional presence, the company has made plans to build a 60,000 metric ton sodium methylate (ready-to-go catalysts) plant in General Lagos, Argentina, a site Muenk says is centrally located near the main biodiesel production facilities. The German-based company believes roughly 20 percent of the annual global demand for biodiesel will come from South America by 2015.

“It is too early in the process to comment on the economic impact,” Muenk says, “but of course, the new plant will, for example, offer logistics advantages for our customers.” One of the biggest advantages, he points out, is a reliable local supply.

Given BASF’s perspective on the future of biodiesel in South America, it might appear that the company has nothing to worry about at its new site, but Muenk points out that isn’t the case. “BASF takes the principal of sustainable development seriously,” he says. “We know that our economic success also depends on the social acceptance of our activities. This applies especially in the communities and regions in which our sites are located.” BASF is also building a sodium methylate plant in Brazil that is nearing completion.

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