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BASF Breaks Ground on Shanghai R&D Expansion

29.04.2021 - BASF has broken ground for the third phase of its new Innovation Campus Shanghai. Construction work on the expansion, which will add a further research and development building and a new R&D workshop building to the campus, is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and bring its total investment in the Chinese technology showcase to around €280 million.

The innovation campus is designed to be an academic sounding board as part of the Network for Asian Open Research (NAO), a joint platform BASF has built up that now encompasses 12 universities and institutes in Asia Pacific. This, the chemicals giant said, will strengthen its innovation pipelines and accelerate market introduction by providing professional consultancy for R&D projects, anticipating industry trends and enhancing the collaborations between BASF and universities.

As part of the work of the NAO platform launched in 2014, the German group said more than 70 joint projects have been completed, covering a wide range of research areas including monomers, polymers, surfaces and interfaces, coatings, catalysis, battery materials, chemical and process engineering, insecticides, as well as digitalization and smart manufacturing in R&D.

BASF said it is committed to further building up innovation capacities in China and the entire Asia Pacific region. With the current expansion, it intends to strengthen its R&D capabilities for advanced materials and systems as well as for chemical engineering in order to supply the needs of growing industries, such as automotive, construction, and coatings.

For the Ludwigshafen-based group and its partners, the Shanghai campus has become an innovation powerhouse. Over the past five years, the companies and institutions have applied for more than 220 patents, and the site is seen to be playing an increasing role in the development of innovations for the automotive, construction and consumer goods industries.

Further expansion of the R&D capabilities at the campus will provide excellent support to the chemical producer’s business operations, thereby strengthening its position as a preferred local innovation partner, said Stephan Kothrade, president and chairman Greater China, at BASF.

As an example of the innovation pursued at Shanghai, BASF said that together with pet toy manufacturer GiGwi, it is co-developing toys for pets made of its bisphenol A-free Infinergy, a new expanded thermoplastic polyurethane that makes the toys more abrasion-resistant. Among other R&D successes to come from the campus it counts AcronalEDGE 7686, billed as a breakthrough polymer technology for exterior wall coatings. Coatings made with the polymer are claimed to have outstanding color durability and high dirt pick-up resistance, which help to keep buildings looking new longer.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist