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Small and medium-sized companies are instrumental in innovation and market development of (partly) biobased products, according to Herbert Fish, clustermanager Benelux for the German multinational.
Editorial office / Utrecht

Fish spoke at the Agri meets Chemicals-conference which was held in Utrecht at the headquarters of the Rabobank. Fish mentioned several examples of BASF-clients that have adopted so-called mass balanced products. For example, German paint manufacturer DAW has established the indoor paint range Alpina, which contains dispersions that are partly produced on the basis of biomass. The paint line is being marketed primarily as being CO2-neutral. The same accounts for a mass balanced PU-foam, named Elastopir by BASF, which is being ‘adopted’ by Falck.

Correct mass balance

The mass balanced principle means that BASF phases in biomass parallel to fossil feedstocks to make products that are partly fossil, partly biobased. In essence, these are drop-in’s, resulting in a more favourable CO2-footprint. Fish stated that BASF has worked with TÜV to attribute the input (of more biomass) to individual products. In other words, clients need the insurance that the actual mass balance in a product is correct.

Apart from these drop-in’s, BASF is also interested in co-developing and producing new chemicals that, besides environmental benefits, also deliver functional benefits. Recently, BASF signed a joint-venture-agreement with Avantium to further develop FDCA and PEF. ‘FDCA is a very promising platform chemical but more work needs to be done in terms of scaling up the production process.’

Four reasons

For BASF, there are four reasons to venture into renewables, Fish said. ‘First of all, it is more sustainable to do so. Secondly, there is market demand; thirdly, because of diversification of raw materials supply and, finally, to make products based on molecules which are not accessible via the fossil route.

The conference Agri meets Chemicals was organized by Deloitte and Rabobank.