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Ludwigshafen

The new Acetylene Plant

The time has come: BASF takes on stream its new acetylene plant at the Ludwigshafen Verbund site. It starts production with an annual capacity of 90,000 metric tons. After a transition period of several months, it will finally replace the previous plant, which went into operation in 1964.


The most efficient acetylene plant in the world

Two hydrogen and two carbon atoms: This is acetylene. The colorless gas is made from natural gas and oxygen. Around 20 plants in BASF's Production Verbund process acetylene and its derivatives.

As a versatile chemical building block, acetylene is an important starting material for many everyday products. Examples are plastics, pharmaceuticals, solvents, electrochemicals and highly elastic textile fibers. BASF customers use these products in the automotive, pharma, construction, consumer goods and textiles industries.

The new acetylene plant consumes about 10 percent fewer fossil raw materials per ton of end product than its predecessor.

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Flares at the Ludwigshafen site

Flares are part of the Ludwigshafen site like fractionating columns or pipe bridges. The flare of the new acetylene plant can be seen from afar once it is in operation. Learn more about flares as well as current and prospective flare activities.
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About poking robots and staircases

Both BASF's own expert teams and external specialized companies performed at the highest level during the construction of the new plant

A construction site with extraordinary dimensions

More than 35,000 cubic meters of concrete and 8,500 tons of steel were used in the 40,000 square meter area. At peak times, 1,500 employees were on site, laying almost 90 kilometers of pipes and 850 kilometers of cable.

A total of 440 customized fractionating columns, machines and technical equipment from twelve countries were assembled and installed. The heart of the plant is a gas separation unit 60 meters long and weighing 225 tons which was transported by ship from China to Ludwigshafen.

Accompany the column on its journey from Nanjing to Ludwigshafen!

Der Chemie-Pionier

Die Herstellung und Weiterverarbeitung von Acetylen ist eng mit dem Namen des BASF-Chemikers Walter Reppe (1892-1969) verbunden, der als Begründer der modernen Acetylenchemie gilt. Sein Ziel war die großtechnische Nutzung von Acetylen zur Kunststoffproduktion. Auf dem Weg dorthin schuf er zunächst die Voraussetzungen für ein sicheres Arbeiten mit dem leicht entzündlichen und hoch reaktiven Acetylen-Gas unter hohem Druck. Auf dieser Basis erforschte er in den 1930er Jahren vier grundlegende chemische Reaktionen mit Acetylen zur Erzeugung unterschiedlichster chemischer Verbindungen. Damit stellte der Chemie-Pionier die Weichen zur Herstellung unzähliger Produkte, die heute zur Lebensqualität beitragen.

The pioneer 

The production and processing of acetylene is closely linked to the name of BASF chemist Walter Reppe (1892-1969), who is considered the founder of modern acetylene chemistry. His goal was the use of acetylene for the production of plastics on an industrial scale. To achieve this, he first created the conditions for working safely with the highly flammable and highly reactive acetylene gas under high pressure. On this basis, in the 1930s he researched four basic chemical reactions with acetylene to produce a wide variety of chemical compounds. In this way, the chemical pioneer laid the foundation for manufacturing countless products that contribute to the quality of life today.
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Acetylene production begins deep underground

Via an extensive pipeline network, natural gas is supplied directly to the acetylene plant at the BASF site in Ludwigshafen. In a highly complex chemical process, natural gas is heated with oxygen, split, separated and purified in the acetylene plant. The reaction products are acetylene and synthesis gas. Learn more in the video!

Chances are you have already been in contact with acetylene today

Acetylene is the perfect raw material for sportswear, tire tackifiers, thermal insulation, crop protection, pharmaceuticals, fragrances and much more.

BASF and its customers manufacture these products over many production stages. The main part of the reactive acetylene gas is used for the production of butanediol (BDO). Here, the dihydric alcohol is an important raw material for the synthesis of other substances such as tetrahydrofuran (THF), polytetrahydrofuran (PolyTHF) and polybutylene terephthalate (PBT). In further production steps, they are used to create a wide variety of products.

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A sustainable start into the future

The new acetylene plant supplies around 20 plants with the chemical building block "acetylene". It is therefore not only an important backbone of various value chains, but also contributes to sustainable production at the Ludwigshafen site with new approaches.

Acetylene is the starting material for countless products. From pharmaceuticals, sportswear, upholstery for car seats and personal care products to adhesives, electronic products and dishwashing detergents - acetylene is found in innumerable daily goods. 

The future of the new acetylene plant is digital

Providing WLAN in all relevant areas of the plant allows taking full advantage of digitalization. For example, mobile devices can be used directly in the plant, so technical information and process data can be accessed anywhere in the plant. The digital core element is a 3D model of the plant, which was used for planning and assembly as well as for the qualification of the staff. Augmented reality has improved the efficiency of processes such as tours, maintenance and repairs.
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Press Photos and TV Footage

Discover extensive photo and video material about the new acetylene plant in the BASF databases: