Research Focus Areas – Examples

  • Increased use of digital technologies
  • Innovative battery materials for electromobility
  • Expansion of business activities in 3D printing

Our focus areas in research are derived from the three major areas in which chemistry-based innovations will play a key role in the future:

  • Resources, environment and climate
  • Food and nutrition
  • Quality of life

Our supercomputer Quriosity in Ludwigshafen, Germany, was started up in the fall of 2017. It is mainly used in product development and enables us to calculate much more complex models with significantly greater variation in parameters. Previously unknown correlations can also be identified and used to advance new research approaches. In 2018, for example, we simulated detergent formulations to determine how existing and potential new BASF products work at a molecular level. Such simulations enable us to better identify and exploit correlations in formulations. Another application is a large database calculated by Quriosity with over 8,000 molecular properties such as solubility or compatibility with metal surfaces. Machine learning can be used to establish the link between these properties and the mode of action of BASF products. This enables us to identify promising molecules for innovative, customer-centric products.

Around the world, experts in the research area Process Research & Chemical Engineering are working on innovative cathode materials for lithium-ion batteries to meet the growing demand for powerful, reliable and low-cost electric vehicles. They aim to create the highest energy-density cathode materials on the market by making selective changes to the chemical composition, structure and the manufacturing process. The ultimate goal is to double the on-road range of a mid-size vehicle from 300 to 600 kilometers on a single battery charge, halve battery size and reduce charging time to 15 minutes by 2025. In 2018, the focus was on creating pilot-scale customer models as well as research into materials with a nickel content of over 80%, which is needed to reach our range and cost targets.

3D printing

BASF is developing new, innovative materials for 3D printing. In the chemical industry, BASF already has a broad portfolio with materials, system solutions, components and services. Focus areas in new materials development are polyamide-based polymers, thermoplastic polyurethanes and polypropylene, as well as new photopolymers and filaments with custom attributes. At our laboratories – in Heidelberg and Ludwigshafen, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; Shanghai, China; and Wyandotte, Michigan – we refine and enhance products such as our thermoplastic and light-curing plastics, optimize processes and develop customer applications. In 2018, BASF New Business GmbH acquired shares in Advanc3D Materials GmbH, Hamburg, Germany, and in Setup Performance SAS, Lyon, France, to continue the targeted expansion of the business.

Innovative materials produced by 3D printers (Photo)