Leading international chemical company BASF has today started-up a new production plant complex for the manufacture of chemical intermediates, at an investment of around €100m.

After a two-year construction phase, BASF has now started-up the new plant complex for the production of cyclopentanone (CPon) and cyclododecanone (CDon) at its Ludwigshafen Verbund site in Germany.

Kurt Beck, Prime Minister of the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, attended the inauguration ceremony for the facility, in which the company has invested more than €100m and will see a return of total production capacity of approximately 30,000 metric tons per year (tpy). The complex will also create 48 new jobs in Ludwigshafen.

The new facility will be the first to use nitrous oxide for industrial-scale oxidation, a gas which is a by-product from another production process and serves as a starting material in the new.

The new technology was tailored to the needs of BASF’s Verbund system, while along with nitrous oxide, other raw materials from BASF are also used as ingredients. As a result the process is cost-efficient as well as sustainable and easy on the environment.

“The new facility is a very positive event for us – especially in the currently difficult economic climate,” explained Board member Dr. Harald Schwager.

“A plant start-up like this shows that we have a long-term perspective at BASF and take well-founded decisions.”

Dr. Beate Ehle, President of BASF’s Intermediates division, added, “The two new products, CDon and CPon, fit in perfectly in our intermediates portfolio. The key factors for success are our innovativeness and BASF’s Verbund. Not only does it supply the raw materials we need, it also provides a Know-how Verbund that integrates research, process technology, mechanical and plant engineering.”

BASF needed only five and a half years from the initial idea to plant start-up.

CDon is the key raw material for producing laurolactam, an intermediate for the high-performance plastic polyamide 12, which in turn is used to make products such as dimensionally stable automotive and engineering components. In addition, CDon is used in the synthesis of musk fragrances and UV stabilizers.

CPon meanwhile, is a building block in the synthesis of crop protection products, active ingredients for pharmaceuticals and fragrances, and as a solvent in wafer production.