The Intermediates division manufactures about 600 products, which are sold worldwide. These include butanediol and its derivatives, amines, organic acids, polyalcohols, life science intermediates, solvents and OASE® gas treatment solutions. They are generally quite resilient to economic cycles and are often the result of multistep production processes within BASF. Customers typically purchase them as precursors for their downstream chemicals, and they are widely used for BASF’s own downstream products. The Intermediates division focuses primarily on the C1 and C2 value chains.
Sales by region 2021 (location of customer)
Sales by direct customer industry 2021
Butanediol and its derivatives
BASF is among the world’s largest manufacturers of 1,4-butanediol, which is a chemical building block for products such as polyesters and polyurethanes. Its derivatives are used to manufacture products ranging from fibers to paints, pharmaceuticals and lithium-ion batteries, and include tetrahydrofuran (THF), PolyTHF® and N-methylpyrrolidone (NMP).
With about 300 different amines, we have the world’s most diverse portfolio of this type of chemical intermediates. Along with alkyl-, alkanol-, alkoxyalkylamines and ethyleneamines, we offer heterocyclic and aromatic as well as specialty amines. The range is completed by a portfolio of chiral amines of high optical and chemical purity. The versatile products are used mainly to manufacture process chemicals, pharmaceuticals and crop protection agents, as well as cosmetic products and detergents. They also serve to produce coatings, specialty plastics, composites and specialty fibers.
Acids and polyalcohols
BASF is the world’s leading manufacturer of polyalcohols, such as neopentylglycol (NPG) and 1,6 hexanediol (HDO), and carboxylic acids, such as formic and propionic acid. Carboxylic acids are used as preservatives for the feed and food industries, as auxiliaries for textile and leather applications and as deicing agents. The portfolio also includes higher carboxylic acids such as 2-ethylhexanoic acid (2-EHA) and isononanoic acid (iNA), which are primarily utilized in synthetic lubricants, paint dryer and PVC plasticizer applications. Polyalcohols are mainly offered for the production of a wide range of coatings.
Acetylenics and carbonyl derivatives
These specialty intermediates are based on raw materials from BASF’s Verbund, such as acetylene and chlorine. Among the acetylene derivatives are vinyl monomers, acetylenic alcohols and higher alkylpyrrolidones. Chlorine-based intermediates include acid chlorides and chloroformates. Further specialty intermediates are glyoxal and imidazoles, cyclododecanone (CDon), 2-mercaptoethanol and triphenylphosphine. The products serve as building blocks for crop protection agents and pharmaceuticals or as monomers and performance additives for polymers, coatings and printing inks.
We follow a differentiated innovation strategy to further grow the strategic business areas. Sustainability is a major driver. We strive to expand our product portfolio as well as the application fields of our existing products where appropriate. At the same time, we are looking for opportunities to improve the efficiency of our processes:
- New products: We are expanding our portfolio of products with sustainability benefits. Examples are our biomass balance (BMB)1 products with a particularly favorable product carbon footprint. For example, we have developed a new biomass balance grade for our intermediate 1,2-pentanediol, which is used by our customers in cosmetics applications. We recently supplied our customer Kemira with a BMB product, dimethylethanolamine (DMEOA), which is used to produce flocculants for water treatment plants. Another example is Ccycled™ diethylamine (DEA) for our customer Mitsubishi Chemical that is produced with our ChemCycling® mass balance approach. In this process, pyrolysis oil generated from plastic or rubber waste is fed into BASF’s production at the beginning of the value chain to substitute fossil resources.
- New applications: We have developed new applications for our chemical intermediate diethanol isopropanolamine (DEIPA), which has proven to be an efficient cement grinding additive. DEIPA is a liquid, label-free and easy-to-handle amine which can now additionally be used by our customers as an effective curing accelerator in many epoxy formulations. Epoxy resins have a wide range of applications. For example, they are used in industrial flooring and coating materials but also in rotor blades on wind turbines.
- Improved processes: The new acetylene plant at the Ludwigshafen Verbund site uses about 10% less fossil resources per ton of product and produces fewer by-products compared to the old process. In addition, we use the excess heat to generate energy, further increasing the efficiency of the process.
1 The biomass balance approach allows fossil fuels to be replaced by renewable raw materials in BASF’s Production Verbund. The amount of renewable feedstock is allocated to specific products using a third party-verified certification method.
BASF’s Intermediates division is among the top three producers worldwide of its products in all strategic business units.
- Acetylenics and carbonyl derivatives: Altivia, Ashland, Evonik, Saltigo, Weylchem
- Acids and polyalcohols: Eastman, Luxi, OQ, Perstorp, Wanhua
- Amines: Dow, Eastman, Evonik, Huntsman, INEOS, Nouryon, Shandong Lianmeng
- Butanediol/derivatives: Dairen, INEOS, LyondellBasell, Wanhua, Xinjiang Lanshan Tunhe
The main aim of process innovation is to optimize existing production technologies and develop new, highly efficient processes offering considerable sustainability contributions and cost advantages.
(from 2019 onward)
|Acetylene||Replacement of plant in Ludwigshafen,Germany||2019|
|Propionic acid||Capacity expansion in Nanjing, China||2019|
|Specialty amines||New plant in Nanjing, China||2019|
|Neopentylglycol||Capacity expansion in Nanjing, China||2020|
|tert-Butylamine||Capacity expansion in Nanjing, China||2021|
|Propionic acid||Capacity expansion in Nanjing, China||2023|
|Ethanolamines||Capacity expansion in Nanjing, China||2023|
|Ethyleneamines||Capacity expansion in Nanjing, China||2023|
|2-Ethylhexanoic acid||Capacity expansion in Kuantan, Malaysia||2024|
|Neopentylglycol||New plant in Zhanjiang, China||2025|
(from 2019 onward)
|Specialty intermediates||Closure of site in Zachary, Louisiana||2019|
|1,4-Butanediol||Closure of production line in Chiba, Japan||2020|
|Closure of production line in Kuantan, Malaysia||2021|
(thousand metric tons per year)
|Ethanolamines and derivatives||440|
Digital tool for efficient gas treatment
BASF’s gas treatment customers can use the unique digital platform OASE® connect to design the operation of their plants more efficiently. The tool stores sample analyses and teaches users about gas treatment technologies using e-learning materials. Linked to OASE connect is the innovative OASE digilab tool, which enables real-time analysis of the gas treating agents used. By optimizing the composition of the treating agents, the gas treatment operations can be run particularly efficiently.