BASF mulls investment in superabsorbent polymer plants in Brazil, China, Malaysia

Germany-based BASF SE reports it plans to build superabsorbent polymer (SAP) plants in Brazil and China, and is evaluating the viability of a similar plant in Malaysia. SAPs are capable of absorbing and holding up to 500 times their own weight in liquid, or up to 50 times their own weight in salty fluids such as urine. The primary end-uses for SAPs are diapers, and adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products. Diapers especially become much thinner, but just as absorbent with the use of SAPs, BASF reports. The planned facility in Camaçari, Brazil, will have an annual capacity of 60,000 tpa, and production is anticipated to begin in late 2014. BASF-YPC Co. Ltd., a 50:50 joint venture between BASF and Sinopec Ltd. will construct a 60,000 tpa plant in Nanjing, China. This facility is expected to begin commercial production in early 2014. A study currently is underway to determine the technical and economic feasibility of an integrated SAP plant in Kuantan, Malaysia. "With these two new projects, we will accompany the rapid growth of the emerging markets in South America and China," said Gabriel Tanbourgi, president, Care Chemicals, BASF. "Local production allows us to serve our customers more flexibly and reliably." "Both plants will be built with our latest state-of-the-art technology and have the advantage that they are planned to be backwards integrated into acrylic acid," said Teressa Szelest, senior vice president, Global Business Unit Hygiene. "This allows the production of our high-quality premium SAP in the emerging markets as well."
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