BASF Announces Investments in HMD and PA 6.6

19.01.2022 - As demand for polyamide (nylon) continues to skyrocket and the market tightens, BASF has become the second major producer to announce a fresh investment in one of the polymer’s starting materials, hexamethylenediamine (HMD).

The German group, which further bolstered its already strong franchise in the engineering plastic last year through a 2020 deal with Solvay – for which the European Commission mandated concessions – said it plans to spend an undisclosed sum on an unquantified capacity expansion at the Chalampé, France site it took over from the Belgian group.

The new facility due to start up in 2024 will lift BASF’s total production volume for HMD to 260,000 t/y. It will be the chemical giant’s first investment in the European market for the PA starting material. Its only existing production facility is in China at the vast Caojing complex near Shanghai.

Along with the HMD investment, BASF said it plans to expand a polymerization plant at Freiburg, Germany, another site it gained in the deal with Solvay. With the two new projects, Ramkumar Dhruva, president of the group’s Monomers division, said BASF ensures that customers can be reliably supplied with HMD and PA 6.6, while also addressing increasing demand in the market.

BASF’s announcement follows the news last week that US competitor, Houston, Texas-based Ascend Performance Materials, plans to build a plant for HMD in China’s Jiangsu Province, starting in 2023. Ascend also did not specify the nominal capacity of the plant, which reportedly could be similar in size to the 500,000 t/y plant it operates in the United States.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist