Our unique Verbund concept is one of BASF’s greatest assets. The Verbund principle enables us to add value as one company through the efficient use of resources. At our Verbund sites, production plants, energy and material flows, logistics, and site infrastructure are all integrated. BASF operates six Verbund sites worldwide: two in Europe, two in North America and two in Asia.
The Verbund system creates efficient value chains that extend from basic chemicals right through to consumer products and system solutions. In this system, chemical processes consume less energy, achieve higher product yields, and conserve resources. We thus save on raw materials and energy, minimize emissions, cut logistics costs and exploit synergies. On a global scale, BASF realizes annual savings of more than €1 billion through its Verbund concept.
The Verbund creates opportunities to reduce emissions and waste and lower resource consumption. It also minimizes transport distances. The Verbund is therefore not just an important economic asset but also generates environmental benefits. With the Energy Verbund, we avoid around 6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, and the Logistics Verbund results in the equivalent of approximately 280,000 fewer truckloads per year.
The Production Verbund is BASF’s traditional core competency and starting point for multiple value chains. By linking plants, we can create efficient value chains from basic chemicals right through to high value-added products such as aroma chemicals and crop protection products. In addition, by-products from one plant can be used as raw materials elsewhere. With our interlinked production system, we reduce raw material and energy use, lower waste and emissions and cut costs.
Production plants are connected by an extensive network of pipes, which provides an environmentally friendly method of transporting raw materials and energy quickly and safely. As a result, BASF significantly reduces its need to use transport by road, rail, river and sea. This provides not only a significant cost saving for BASF, but also reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, the associated costs of handling and storage are eliminated.
Our Verbund system makes a major contribution to energy efficiency. Waste heat from production processes is not discharged into the environment, but is captured and converted into steam to be used as an energy source at other production plants. The Verbund system resulted in a reduction in carbon emissions of 3.9 million metric tons in 2017. In addition, BASF is continuously investing in highly efficient energy generation technologies such as combined heat and power (CHP) plants. The use of these environmentally friendly CHP plants further reduced carbon emissions by 2.6 million metric tons in 2017.
At our Verbund sites, we achieve critical mass to run worldscale utility plants (heat and power generation, waste incineration, water treatment, and more). These plants use resources very efficiently and are highly cost competitive. Therefore, they are not only environmentally friendly, but also provide significant cost savings. Furthermore, we also benefit from shared use of on-site facilities such as the fire department, security, maintenance and engineering and analytics.
Despite its complexity, the Production Verbund can respond flexibly to fluctuating demand. The Verbund Simulator is a proprietary IT tool that helps us steer the Verbund. The economic crisis in 2008/2009 was an outstanding example. We were able to reduce utilization of our crackers to exceptionally low levels and thus remain operational. Furthermore, we can add new plants to our Verbund sites, take other plants out of service, or significantly adjust production volumes.
BASF has extended the Verbund concept beyond technology, applying it in many other areas such as the “People Verbund.” We seek to attract and retain the best talent as well as to connect people and use networks as accelerators for know-how exchange and creativity. We know that the experience of our employees is one of our greatest assets and strengths. Therefore, we encourage and facilitate communication, networking and collaboration between employees in our “People Verbund.” The introduction of digital tools, platforms and internal social media has enabled us to more easily build global networks and use these to cooperate and boost innovation.
Our production community benefits not only from intelligent interlinking of production plants, energy flows and infrastructure, but also from the invaluable know-how that experienced plant managers share with their colleagues all over the world.
In the R&D community, an ongoing exchange of experience and ideas between the individual experts is pivotal to leveraging the full power of innovation. For instance, when the experts for polystyrene insulating foams met the experts for polyurethane systems, this created the spark of inspiration for Infinergy® – a groundbreaking innovation for sport shoe soles and a perfect example of how our “People Verbund” can drive real innovation.
BASF’s company culture fosters creativity, entrepreneurship and open exchange between people in and across all units.