Plants: BASF starts up pilot plant for SAPs in Belgium; Idemitsu to close down BPA plant in Japan

BASF starts up pilot plant for SAPs in Belgium

German chemical firm BASF has started production in its Superabsorbents Excellence Centre at its site in Antwerp, Belgium. The EUR25 million investment is a clear commitment of the company to the hygiene business as an important part of its acrylics value chain, it adds.

To increase innovation capabilities for its superabsorbent polymer business and to accelerate the scale-up process from product development to production scale, the new pilot plant is equipped with the latest data collection and sensor technology. By leveraging digitalisation and advanced modelling, the applied technology will be key to further increase product performance.

Combined with the proximity to BASF’s superabsorbent production in Antwerp, the processes in the new pilot plant will shorten time-to-market.

“This investment in a Superabsorbents Excellence Centre in Antwerp highlights our commitment to innovation for the hygiene industry. With the pilot plant we want to provide new impulses to our customers and strengthen our leading role in the global Superabsorbents market,” said Marco Altmayer, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Business Development Petrochemicals, during the inauguration of the Superabsorbents Excellence Centre.

The pilot plant is also a strong commitment to BASF’s site in Antwerp. The Flemish government recognised the innovative character of the centre and has granted a funding of EUR1.4 million to the development of this new process technology platform.

Idemitsu to close down BPA plant in Japan

Meanwhile, Japan’s Idemitsu Kosan says it has decided to withdraw from the Bisphenol A (BPA) business. The production capacity is 81,000 tonnes/year at its Chiba plant.

Bisphenol A is an organic compound synthesised from phenol and acetone, and is used as a raw material for polycarbonate resin, epoxy resin, flame retardant resin, etc.

In 1991, Idemitsu commercialised Bisphenol A at the Chiba Complex with its own technology, and for more than 30 years since then, it has been developing the Bisphenol A business by striving for safe and stable operation and improvement of quality.

However, in recent years, the business environment has deteriorated owing to an oversupply caused by the expansion of facilities in Asia. As a result of examining its future business policies, it says that it will be difficult to continue the business.

Based on this decision, it will withdraw from the Bisphenol A business and stop operating the manufacturing equipment at Idemitsu’s Chiba Complex by October 2024.


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