BASF to replace acetylene plant in Germany; 90 kt/year capacity


German chemicals firm BASF is building a world-scale production plant for acetylene at its Ludwigshafen site. The plant will start up at the end of 2019 and replace the existing plant. The new facility will have the capacity to produce 90,000 tones/year of acetylene and will use the world’s most efficient production process, with heat given off during production used to generate energy, says the firm.

Around 20 production facilities at the Ludwigshafen site use acetylene as a starting material for many other products and value chains.

“With the new plant, we are strengthening the BASF Verbund by ensuring an efficient supply of the key intermediate acetylene at our Ludwigshafen site. This will improve our competitiveness and support growth in the various acetylene value chains,” said Dr. Stefan Blank, President of the Intermediates division. “We have been working on acetylene production for more than 50 years and have continuously refined the associated processes during this time. Accordingly, the new plant in Ludwigshafen will use state-of-the-art technical equipment and processes.”

As a chemical component, acetylene has a diverse range of applications, including pharmaceuticals, plastics, solvents, electronic chemicals and highly elastic textile fibres, in the automotive, pharma, construction, consumer goods and textiles industries. BASF has also operated an acetylene plant at its US site in Geismar, Louisiana, since 2000.

The production and processing of acetylene is closely connected with the name Walter Reppe (1892-1969), a BASF chemist who is considered the founder of modern acetylene chemistry. His goal was the large-scale use of acetylene for plastic production. Working towards this goal, he first found a way to work safely with the highly flammable and reactive acetylene gas under high pressure. Based on this, he conducted research in the 1930s on four fundamental chemical reactions with acetylene that can create a wide variety of chemical compounds.


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