BASF/Sinopec start-up Chinese acrylic acid and SAP plants

German chemical firm BASF and China’s chemical/energy firm Sinopec have inaugurated two new plants for acrylic acid and superabsorbent polymers (SAP) at the Verbund site, BASF-YPC, a 50-50 joint venture in Nanjing, China. Additionally, a new butyl acrylate plant will begin production later this year.

The new plants will further strengthen the C3 (propylene) value chain and serve the growing downstream demand. With an annual capacity of 60,000 tonnes, the new SAP plant will serve growing demand in China for baby diapers, adult incontinence products and feminine care products.

“BASF is investing in Asia Pacific to produce 75% of our Asia Pacific sales locally, in order to ensure faster, more energy-efficient, more reliable supply. With the start-up of these projects, we continue to build on the success of our strong partnership with Sinopec, and reinforce our commitment to serving the hygiene industry in China and Asia as well as around the world,” said Albert Heuser, President, Greater China and Functions Asia Pacific, BASF.

“The start-up of these projects will continuously improve the company’s ability to meet the demands of our customers. It will create new opportunities for sustainability and will make a positive contribution to clean production. It will also enhance industrial development,” said Chang Zhenyong, Vice Chief Engineer, Director of Chemical Department, Sinopec Corporation.

BASF’s “Verbund” system creates efficient value chains that extend from basic chemicals right through to high-value-added products. In addition, the by-products of one plant can be used as the starting materials of another.

At the BASF-YPC Verbund site in Nanjing, SAP, butyl acrylate and acrylic acid production will be backward integrated into the manufacturing of C3. This ensures supply reliability, energy efficiency, and cost effectiveness, while minimising energy use and environmental impact.

Founded in 2000, BASF-YPC has a total investment of US$4.5 billion. The integrated petrochemical site produces 3 million tonnes/year of high-quality chemicals and polymers for the Chinese market. The products serve the rapid-growing demand in multiple industries including agriculture, construction, electronics, pharmaceutical, automotive and chemical manufacturing.

BASF-YPC successfully started commercial production at the first phase of the integrated petrochemical site in 2005 and inaugurated the second phase creating an extended value chain and increasing the production of fine chemicals in January 2012.

It is further expanding its acrylic acid value chain with additional acrylic acid and butyl acrylate plants. Together with the superabsorbent polymer plant, which was put on stream in December 2013, BASF-YPC will enhance its support to home care and hygiene industries as well as coatings, textiles, and construction industries. The site also has a gas-fired power plant and an international port on a tributary of the Yangtze River to ensure optimum energy supply and logistics. BASF-YPC. posted sales of EUR2.84 billion in 2013 and employed 1,993 people as of the end of that year.


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