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6 February 2019

Braskem and Haldor Topsoe start up demo unit for developing renewable MEG

The mechanical completion of the innovative first process step of the demonstration plant is the first milestone to be achieved by Braskem and Haldor Topsoe’s partnership to validate the MOSAIK™ sugar-to-biochemicals solution for production of cost-competitive bio-based MEG (monoethylene glycol). Currently, MEG is made from fossil-based feedstocks, such as naphtha, gas or coal. The demonstration plant is expected to produce more than 100 tons per year of glycolaldehyde, the precursor for MEG, when it begins operation on March 1, 2019. MEG is a key component of PET plastic used for food packaging, especially bottles, and polyester fabrics. The global MEG market represents a value of 25 billion dollars.

BASF pursues a significant capacity expansion of the integrated ethylene oxide complex at its Verbund site in Antwerp, Belgium. The project includes capacity expansions for ethylene oxide and for several downstream derivatives, such as surfactants.

In Europe, BASF operates ethylene oxide plants in Antwerp and Ludwigshafen with a combined capacity of 845,000 metric tons per year. The company is the largest producer of ethylene oxide derivatives in the region. Major ethylene oxide derivatives are surfactants, ethanol amines, glycol ethers, polyether polyols and other specialty products used in a wide range of industries such as home and personal care, industrial applications and the automotive industry.

BASF intends to further strengthen its backward integration into ethylene oxide to support continued growth of its customers in downstream markets. The final investment decision is expected to be made in 2019.