BASF inaugurates its first South American sodium methylate plant

By BASF | February 07, 2012

BASF officially inaugurated its new world-scale production plant for sodium methylate in Guaratinguetá, Brazil, its largest site in South America. The plant has a capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year and is supplying the regional market. Production started at the end of 2011 and the plant has been continuously delivering excellent product quality. It is the first BASF plant for this product in South America and the second in the world, in addition to a plant in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Capital expenditure for the project was in the low double-digit million euro range.

“We have invested in a new production plant to further strengthen our competitive position in the fast-growing market for biodiesel in South America,” said Stefano Pigozzi, president of BASF’s inorganic chemicals. “This start-up supports our strategic initiative to work as closely as possible with our customers and to serve them even better by providing a local and stable supply of sodium methylate. This plant is also one building block in our strategy to further expand our leading position in South America.”

Alfred Hackenberger, BASF president for South America, said, “This investment in the new plant responds to the growing market opportunity for biodiesel in the region. As announced last year, we are planning to build a second plant in South America in order to accompany South America’s intended growth for biodiesel.”

Sodium methylate is an efficient and reliable catalyst for the production of biodiesel, which has developed into an important and increasing alternative for diesel fuels in the past years. Biodiesel meets the requirements of engine manufacturers for high-quality fuels.

Legislation in Brazil requires fuel to contain 5 percent biodiesel. In Argentina, biodiesel makes up 7 percent of fuel. Other South American countries have similar legislation.

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