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BASF Expands Methanesulfonic Acid Production in Ludwigshafen

September 28, 2012

An aerial view of BASF’s headquarters in Ludwigshafen.
• GERMANY: BASF has started production in the plant extension used to manufacture methanesulfonic acid in Ludwigshafen. BASF is the world’s leading manufacturer of methanesulfonic acid, which is used in household and industrial cleaners.

BASF markets the material under the Lutropur trademark, with a total capacity of 30,000 tons a year. Extending the Lutropur plant has led to the creation of 12 additional jobs in Ludwigshafen, the company said.

According to BASF, Lutropur is a readily biodegradable acid that enables customers in the chemical industry to design more efficient processes. Chemical reactions can often be operated at lower temperature for instance. Therefore, customers can save energy costs and resources.

“This increase in capacity is our response to the constant growth in demand for Lutropur, ” said Dr. Stefan Beckmann, senior vice president home care and formulation technologies Europe. “Lutropur offers decisive advantages in many applications, and new markets are constantly opening up.”

“We are currently evaluating further options to satisfy the fast growing markets worldwide. Our next step will be in the region Asia/Pacific as we are planning the construction of a new methanesulfonic acid plant in Malaysia,” said Gabriel Tanbourgi, president of Care Chemicals. Petronas and BASF agreed in March 2012 to form a new entity to construct and operate a new production facility for methanesulfonic acid and others. These facilities are going to be built at a new site within Petronas´s proposed Refinery & Petrochemical Integrated Development (RAPID) complex on Pengerang, Johor, Malaysia.

Lutropur is a strong organic acid that is colorless, odor-free and easy to handle, and it is neither oxidizing nor reducing. It is readily biodegradable and, unlike other grades of methanesulfonic acid, is produced using a process that does not use chlorine. Because of the high solubility of its salts and the relatively low level of corrosion that it causes, it is increasingly being used as a high-performance alternative to other acids in phosphate-free cleaner formulations. Therefore, Lutropur contributes to water protection because a high amount of phosphates in wastewater streams causes eutrophication, noted BASF.

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