Innovations in the Segments – Examples

Research and development expenses by segment 2018
Research and development expenses by segment 2018 (pie chart)

Chemicals: BASF’s ChemCycling project focuses on reusing plastic waste in chemical production rather than disposing of it. Thermochemical processes are used to transform plastic waste into new raw materials, which are then fed into the BASF Verbund instead of fossil resources. In October 2018, the first pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste by our partners was used in Ludwigshafen, Germany. The new chemical products manufactured from this pyrolysis oil have the same quality as products made from fossil feedstock. The Eco-Efficiency Analysis developed by BASF ensures that the innovative approach also creates value for the environment. Many of our customers already aim to increase the proportion of recycled materials in their products. We are currently working with customers to produce the first prototypes for customer products with chemically recycled material.

In 2016, we consolidated marketing activities for our established binders for the woodworking industry – amino resins (such as Kaurit®) and isocyanates (such as Lupranat®). With Kauranat® MS 1001, a modified isocyanate, BASF has now developed a new product that enables the optimal combination of both binder types. When Kauranat® MS 1001 is used in a hybrid binder system together with an amino resin to produce chipboard, for example, the binder system starts to cure in the press at lower temperatures than usual. This increases production speed by up to 20%, saving process energy and significantly increasing total production capacity.

We constantly renew our specialty chemicals portfolio, also for the pharmaceutical industry. Based on its own technology, BASF has developed optically active key components that are used by our customers in advanced active ingredients. Optically active substances comprise mirror-image molecules with different physiological properties and thus different effects. Thanks to our expertise, we can selectively produce either the “left-handed” or “right-handed” forms of these molecules. By isolating these chemical building blocks for our customers, we help them to significantly improve the quality of life of people living with HIV, for example, with innovative medications that reduce the number of HIV viruses in the body and keep this at a low level.

Performance Products: Designers in the furniture industry now have access to innovative wood fiberboards based on BASF’s new binder technology, acForm®. Unlike standard wood fiberboards, those novel panels can be 3D-molded and their surfaces can be structured on standard furniture molding equipment. This opens up new, cost-efficient design options for large-scale production. Since acForm® works without formaldehyde, this technology also enables the woodworking industry to set new standards in workplace health and safety.

Euperlan® OP White is a wax-based opacifier that gives personal care products such as shampoos or shower gels a creamy milky-white appearance. It is readily biodegradable and cold processable. These unique properties make Euperlan® OP White particularly suitable for eco-label conforming skin and hair cleansing formulations. As an alternative to conventional opacifiers, the product meets the growing demand for environmentally friendly ingredients.

BASF launched Lucantin® NXT, the next generation of carotenoid formulations, which are nature-identical color pigments used as feed additives. The new formulations provide markedly improved product stability to meet various requirements for feed production, along with excellent bioavailability, enabling the carotenoids to be efficiently absorbed by the animal. Extensive trials have shown that Lucantin® NXT delivers high homogeneity and a long shelf life while maintaining egg yolk and broiler skin coloring efficacy. The new formulations replace the previously used stabilizer ethoxyquin (EQ) with antioxidants such as propyl gallate, butylhydroxytoluene or tocopherol. Lucantin® NXT complies with the latest E.U. regulation, which requires the suspension of EQ as a feed additive.

The water that accumulates in aircraft fuel tanks leads to high costs for airlines, who have to regularly extract this water and address the potential dangers of ice formation and corrosion in wing tanks. The performance additive Kerojet® Aquarius disperses the water contained in jet fuel, removing it during the normal combustion process in the turbine. In this way, BASF’s water scavenger makes a significant contribution to improving safety and maintenance parameters by reducing the frequency of cost-intensive water extraction measures and inhibiting ice formation in wing tanks.

Functional Materials & Solutions: O4-115 Quattro is a new sulfuric acid catalyst from BASF with a unique quattro-shaped geometry – a combination of four strands. It was developed digitally using fluid dynamics and strength simulations. The catalyst not only offers excellent mechanical properties, but also provides a 30% greater active surface area than previous catalysts based on its geometry. For sulfuric acid producers, this translates into increased capacity and improved performance in plants with limited catalyst volumes. SO2 off-gas emissions are also reduced, resulting in a significant decrease in SO2 emissions per metric ton of sulfuric acid produced and providing our customers with a comparative advantage in a very competitive market.

MasterTop TC 941 is a non-solvent-based, UV-stable topcoat with low emissions that offers exceptional cleanability and scratch resistance properties for resin floor systems. Targeted for use in retail and light industry spaces, MasterTop TC 941 has excellent aesthetic durability, which reduces cleaning and maintenance bills and leads to a lower cost of ownership for the customer over the life of the floor.

BASF created the Auroom® online platform to visualize automotive paints virtually. The colors available in the database can be mapped onto any 3D surface online, showing the characteristics and effects of the automotive coating in photographic quality. Painted samples are photographed from different angles and under different lighting, and processed using a special mathematical model. Digitalization speeds up the design process for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), as they no longer have to wait for all samples to be painted and shipped. The effect of the color on the entire car body can be simulated in real time and projected onto manufacturers’ own models.

BASF’s Ultrasim® simulation tool has long been used to determine the direction of fibers in injection-molded plastics components after manufacturing (anisotropic mechanical behavior). The new Ultrasim® thermomechanics module also enables thermal deformation to be detected at an early stage of development of components like these. It takes into account the complex thermomechanical material behavior, the impact of the anisotropic fiber orientation as well as temperature distribution and temperature changes in the component. The tool can be used to simulate the typical temperature load from minus 40°C to 150°C for various applications. This saves our customers time and money in the development process as they are able to identify and avoid component faults at an early stage before going into serial production. This is crucial for electrical and electronic equipment used in the automotive industry.

Agricultural Solutions: We are working with farmers around the globe to improve the quality and yield of their agricultural production while taking societal expectations and requirements into consideration. To achieve this, we invest continually in developing our pipeline in order to expand our portfolio in conventional crop protection, seeds, traits and beyond – such as in biological solutions. In 2018, we invested €679 million in research and development in the Agricultural Solutions division, representing around 11% of sales for the segment.

Our well-stocked innovation pipeline comprises products with a launch date between 2018 and 2028. With a peak sales potential1 of more than €6 billion, the pipeline includes innovations from all business areas. This positive development is the result of continual investment and early consideration of sustainability criteria as part of our research and development strategy. The first market launches of Revysol®, our new fungicide, are scheduled for the 2019 growing season following registration with the relevant authorities. Luximo® and Tirexor®, our new herbicides to manage a broad range of difficult-to-control grasses and broadleaf weeds, are expected to enter the market from 2020 onward. We launched the new insecticide Inscalis® in 2018. Another new insecticide, Broflanilide, to help farmers protect specialty and field crops from insects such as potato beetles and caterpillars, is planned to be on the market from 2020. In 2018, the Functional Crop Care business launched Velondis®, for example, a biological fungicide for seed treatment.

For seeds and traits, the acquired businesses open up new opportunities that contribute to our innovation pipeline. The market launch of the new herbicide-tolerant soybean seed with the LibertyLink® GT27TM^ trait platform2 is planned for 2020. This new soybean technology will be available to growers under the Credenz® brand as well as licensee’s brands, and will allow farmers to apply Liberty® herbicide and two other herbicide active ingredients. Registration for one of these active ingredients is expected for the 2020 growing season. New cotton technology with herbicide tolerance will also be launched under our Fibermax® and Stoneville® brands with a new mode of action. We want to expand the acquired InVigor® canola seed business with yellow seed canola, which can be grown under more challenging conditions such as arid environments. Our vegetable seeds business, mainly marketed under the Nunhems® brand, develops vegetable and hybrid varieties adapted to different growing conditions and that meet the needs of consumers and the global food value chain for novel vegetable varieties.

Digital innovation will also contribute to the profitable growth of the Agricultural Solutions segment. The digital farming activities and associated pipeline developments under the xarvio® brand complement our existing portfolio with additional products and functionalities as well as access to the latest technologies. This additional expertise to optimize yields, including scientific data, predictive modeling for seasonal planning and needs-based recommendations on the application of crop inputs, will accelerate our digital plans and improve our overall digital offer. This enables us to offer our customers even better agronomic support and assistance in optimizing the cultivation of their crops.

1 Peak sales describes the highest sales value to be expected in one year. For more information, see the Glossary.

2 GT27TM traits are developed and marketed in cooperation with MS Technologies LLC, West Point, Iowa.