BASF to build 60,000 tonne sodium methylate plant in Brazil

Multinational chemicals manufacturer, BASF, which is listed in  Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN), says it is planning to build a production plant for sodium methylate in Guaratinguetá, Brazil, its largest site in South America.

The plant, which will have a capacity of 60,000 metric tons per year, will be the first such plant for this product in South America and is primarily intended to supply the regional market.

Sodium methylate is an efficient catalyst for the production of biodiesel, which has developed into an alternative for diesel fuels in the past 10 years. Biodiesel is able to meet the requirements of engine manufacturers for high-quality fuels.

"We expect annual global demand for biodiesel to increase to about 18 billion tons in coming years. About 15 per cent of this amount will come from South America," said Dr. Ulrich Büschges, group vice president of BASF's global business unit Inorganic Specialties. "We want to respond to the growing needs of our customers with this investment," added Dr. Frank Prechtl, business manager alcoholates.

Legislation planned in Brazil will require fuel to contain 3 percent biodiesel by 2013, and this figure is set to rise to 5 percent. Argentina has mandated that biodiesel makes up 5 percent of fuel by 2010. Other South American countries have similar plans.

BASF's portfolio ranges from oil and gas to chemicals, plastics, performance products, agricultural products and fine chemicals, plays an important role in finding answers to global challenges such as climate protection, energy efficiency, nutrition and mobility.