BASF Expands EO/EO Derivatives at Antwerp

02.10.2019 -

BASF will expand capacity for ethylene oxide (EO) and EO derivatives at Antwerp, Belgium, to support customer demand.

The German producer will invest more than €500 million to add around 400,000 t/y of EO/EO derivatives with a sequential start-up anticipated to begin in 2022.

A second world-scale EO line will be added, including capacity for purified EO. BASF said several derivative plants are also part of the project and will be pursued in line with the EO expansion. These include non-ionic surfactants, various alkoxylates and glycol ethers for automotive applications.

“The increase of our methyl triglycol capacity enables us to support the growing demand for high-performance brake fluids in Europe and Asia. The increasing number of automated cars, relying on systems such as cruise and distance control, requires brake fluids that perform well – even under tough conditions,” explained Anup Kothari, BASF’s president performance chemicals.

In July 2018, BASF said it would pursue a “significant” capacity expansion of its integrated EO complex at Antwerp – its second most important Verbund site, which includes around 50 plants, all bundled into 15 integrated production clusters.

At the time, it said it wanted to further strengthen its backward integration into EO and expected to make a final investment decision in 2019.

BASF produces EO at Antwerp and Ludwigshafen, Germany, with a total combined capacity of 845,000 t/y.

In September 2018, BASF started a stepwise capacity increase of its alkoxylation production at Antwerp. The first additional capacities were due to be available from the second half of 2018.  Soeren Hildebrandt, senior vice president, home care, industrial and institutional, and industrial solutions Europe, said BASF was planning to step up alkoxylation capacities at Antwerp by up to 25% by 2021.

Alkoxylation is used in the manufacture of surfactants as well as in raw materials for producing plasticizers, emulsifiers for emulsion polymerization, crop protection additives and polyurethane foams for the rubber industry.