Innovations in the segments – examples

Innovations are an important success factor for BASF’s long-term growth. In developing new products, we look at the needs of our customers as well as at market trends, and take advantage of the opportunities arising from the BASF Verbund’s value chains. Through innovative production processes, we aim to expand our competitive ability. We never stop improving our existing products, applications and processes. We view sustainability as an opportunity, since we use chemistry to create value for customers and society.

Expenditure on research and development by segment
Expenditure on research and development by segment (pie chart)

Chemicals:

We have added a new product to our comprehensive range of amines: methyl diaminocyclohexane, which we market under the brand name Baxxodur® ECX 210. As a hardening agent in epoxy systems, Baxxodur® ECX 210 has proven valuable in, for example, the manufacture of wind turbine rotor blades and layering systems for industrial flooring and bridges. Baxxodur® ECX 210 is more efficient and can be processed for a longer period of time than comparable products.

Succinity GmbH, our joint venture with Corbion Purac, has been producing succinic acid out of renewable resources since 2014. The highly efficient process, based on sugar, starch or glycerin, binds carbon dioxide, reducing the formation of carbon dioxide by 60% compared with petrochemical processes. Bio-based succinic acid is therefore an economically and ecologically viable alternative to conventional succinic acid for our customers. Succinic acid is highly versatile and can be used, for example, in the production of bioplastics, solvents, polyurethanes and plasticizers.

Our chemical solutions help the highly competitive lumber industry further improve their products’ properties and reduce costs. For example, we have been able to enhance our Kaurit® glues so that wood can be worked into fiberboard even more efficiently and reliably, even with varying degrees of moisture content. As a result, our customers benefit from a higher level of process reliability and greater plant throughput.

Performance Products:

We launched Styrofan ECO® 7623, our newest water-based polymer dispersion, on the market in 2014. It imparts excellent flow properties and adhesion to repair mortars and floor screeds, and increases strength and abrasion resistance, as well. Styrofan ECO® 7623 meets the respective industries’ most stringent formaldehyde and ammonia emission standards for building materials, making it especially environmentally friendly.

With our innovative portfolio of SAVIVA® superabsorbents, producers of baby diapers, adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene articles can reduce raw material consumption and increase the comfort of their products. Droplet polymerization allows us to produce a round particle shape that results in an especially soft feel. Liquid is rapidly absorbed and distributed, keeping the skin pleasantly dry. The development of this pioneering technology makes superabsorbents even more efficient, enabling the creation of products like thinner and more comfortable diapers.

Trace elements in animal feed are essential in livestock farming. For example, they strengthen immune function, promoting the animals’ welfare. Our new, globally launched glycinate product line comprises organic compounds with copper, iron, manganese and zinc. Their high degree of bioavailability means that trace elements can be absorbed especially readily from feed. Furthermore, their excellent water solubility allows BASF glycinates to be easily added to drinking water. The animals are thus optimally provided with important trace elements, and the environment benefits from fewer excreted trace elements.

Paper and cardboard food packaging is coated with barrier materials to protect food from outside influences and keep, for example, water and grease from leaking out. BASF’s Epotal® product line comprises water-based barrier dispersions to efficiently coat various types of packaging. In South America, one of our biggest customers has been using Epotal® DS 2013 in their paper production as a liquid barrier for frozen food cartons since the middle of 2014. Epotal® DS 2013 is partly composed of renewable materials, can be easily recycled and is especially easy for customers to use.

Industrial and municipal wastewater treatment plants can be operated more efficiently and effectively with Zetag® ULTRA, our new range of flocculants. Zetag® ULTRA’s highly effective binding capability enables advanced dewatering performance compared with conventional flocculants. The higher proportion of cake solids in the dewatered sludge benefits the environment, as less energy is required for transportation, disposal and incineration. This has a positive impact on the treatment facility’s carbon footprint.

Functional Materials & Solutions:

High ozone levels present a major challenge to many cities around the world. This is why we developed PremAir®, a patented catalytic coating for automotive radiators. As air flows over the radiator, PremAir® converts the ground-level ozone – the main component of smog – into oxygen. Our innovation, PremAir® NXT, is especially designed for use with today’s smaller automotive radiators. It can achieve even higher ozone conversion performance than the standard PremAir® coating over the lifetime of the vehicle. This helps automobile manufacturers meet the challenging California LEV III and U.S. Tier 3 emissions requirements and improves air quality for us all.

With MasterSphere, we provide the construction industry with an utterly novel solution for making concrete more resistant to frost and dew. Around 50 external factors must be monitored in the application of conventional technologies for extending concrete’s lifespan under such conditions – such as how fine the concrete’s raw materials are, how long it takes to transport the fresh concrete, or the concrete’s compression during pumping. MasterSphere, however, is impacted by none of these factors. This not only makes application easier for our customers, it also substantially increases the concrete’s durability. Buildings are given an improved lifespan, especially in cooler climates.

Our new RELEST® Wind LEP ETU paint protects rotor blades even better – especially on the edges – from the enormous stress of rain, hail, snow, sand and ultraviolet rays. Before, an intensive process was required involving a special film. With RELEST® Wind LEP ETU, the paint can be applied directly following pretreatment. The substantial advantages here are especially apparent when touching up dings and scratches: Whereas in the past, a rotor blade’s film had to be entirely removed for repair work, damaged spots can now be treated individually and thus more efficiently.

The BMW i3, the first entirely electric production vehicle from the BMW Group, makes use of several of our innovative high-performance plastics at once. Their improved material properties make the car body sturdier, the roof construction stiffer and the seats more comfortable. The resilience of our Elastolit® polyurethane system was demonstrated in the Chinese province of Guangdong in July 2014: While more than 70,000 metal and concrete power pylons were severely damaged by Typhoon Rammasun, the pylons made with Elastolit®, which were installed as part of a pilot project, stood intact.

Agricultural Solutions:

We work together with farmers to keep farmland arable for future generations and to accommodate society’s rising expectations. To do so, we constantly invest in our development pipeline in order to expand our portfolio both in and beyond conventional crop protection – such as in biological solutions. In 2014, we invested €511 million in research and development in the Crop Protection division, representing around 9% of sales for the segment.

Our innovation pipeline continued to increase in value in 2014. The pipeline comprises products launched in the period between 2010 and 2020. We foresee a peak sales potential of €2,300 million for these products, which represents an increase of €200 million compared with the previous year. The higher value is boosted by innovations in all application areas. Particular examples include a new, especially high-performance insecticide as well as the area of herbicide tolerance with the herbicide Engenia®, the next-generation dicamba formulation.

The Functional Crop Care portfolio has continued to show very promising development. For example, we will launch SerifelTM, a biological fungicide from our Functional Crop Care research and development platform, on the market in 2015. SerifelTM fights fungal infections with a broad range of effects all the way up until harvest and is characterized by a variety of action mechanisms.

BASF Plant Science: We work with numerous biotechnology and seed companies, research institutes and universities worldwide to develop crops with higher yields and improved resistance to unfavorable environmental factors, such as drought. The drought-tolerant corn Genuity® DroughtGard®, the first product from our cooperation with Monsanto, allows for an average crop yield increase of more than 300 kilograms per hectare compared with competitors’ drought-tolerant corn varieties.

Oil & Gas:

Our research and development activities focus on improving the discovery rate of oil and gas reservoirs, developing technologies for reservoirs with challenging development and production conditions, and increasing the recovery factor of reservoirs.

Our minimum facility platform in the L6-B field in the Dutch North Sea represents an important step in the more efficient production of small and medium-scale reservoirs. This mini-platform is 25% lighter than previous platforms and can be installed in merely nine months, substantially reducing purchasing and manufacturing costs. With this new generation of platforms, even the numerous smaller natural gas fields in the North Sea can be produced over a longer period of time in an economical manner.