BASF THF plant in Caojing ready for restart
The mothballed BASF plant for the manufacture of tetrahydrofuran (THF) at the Caojing site near Shanghai, China, is ready to go back on stream, the plant is now equipped with a new production
unit enabling the alternative use of butane diol (BDO) as a raw material for THF production in addition to butane. Among others, THF is used as a raw material to produce PolyTHF. With the move,
the company sustainably improves the reliability of local industrial raw material supply for the neighboring PolyTHF plant, which has been in operation since the first quarter of 2005.
Additionally, the production of maleic anhydride (MAN) as a commercial product alongside THF will be possible, presumably with effect from early 2010.
With the move, the company sustainably improves the reliability of local industrial raw material supply for the neighboring PolyTHF plant, which has been in operation since the first quarter of
2005. Additionally, the production of maleic anhydride (MAN) as a commercial product alongside THF will be possible, presumably with effect from early 2010.
“The new production unit improves our flexibility in three respects,” said Dr. Walter Gramlich, president, head of the Operating Division Intermediates of the BASF-Group, and continued: “First,
we can extract MAN as a market product starting in 2009/2010 and thus develop new growth markets in China. Second, we can also choose the most favorable raw material and so improve our
competitiveness. And third, our new flexibility on the raw material side considerably increases the security of supply for our PolyTHF customers.”
Gramlich emphasizes: “Our local PolyTHF production in Shanghai has established us as a reliable partner for our PolyTHF customers in China and Asia. We are now engaged in cooperations with
leading producers of Spandex fibers who know they can rely on our highly valuable product complete with a full range of technical services. In response to continuously growing customer demand,
we are presently exploring potentials for further expansion of our PolyTHF capacity in Asia Pacific.”
BASF has a global ?Verbund” network of production plants for THF and PolyTHF located close to the customers. These are the Asian sites in Ulsan (Korea) and Caojing (China) as well as
Ludwigshafen (Germany) and Geismar, Louisiana (USA).
PolyTHF and MAN: Versatile chemical intermediates from BASF
PolyTHF is used in the production of elastic spandex fibers for textiles such as sportswear, swimwear, underwear and outerwear. In addition to its role in textiles, PolyTHF is also an important
intermediate for thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU), which are used for example in the manufacture of highly abrasion-resistant, yet flexible hoses, films and cable sheathing. Other TPU
applications include thermoplastic polyetheresters and polyetheramides or cast elastomers required for the production of wheels for skateboards and inline skates. THF not only serves as a
precursor of PolyTHF, but is also used as a special solvent, for example, in the production of pharmaceutical products.
MAN serves mainly as a building block to produce unsaturated polyester resins. These resins are widely used in the form of composite materials, above all in the shipbuilding, construction and
automobile industries. Parts made of these resins stand out for their high strength and particularly light weight. Maleic anhydride is used for many other applications, too, and notably for
producing water-soluble polymers and lubricants.