BASF and Oleon celebrate grand opening of propylene glycol production plant

02-Jul-2012 - Belgium

The oleochemical company Oleon has started up a new manufacturing plant for producing bio propylene glycol (PG) from glycerin in Ertvelde, Belgium.

The plant is the first of its type worldwide, leveraging a highly sustainable production process developed and licensed by BASF and jointly realized with Oleon.

Historically, PG has been produced by means of hydrolysis from propylene oxide, which is obtained from crude oil. The starting material employed at the Ertvelde site is glycerin, primarily obtained from fats and oils generated as by-products of oleochemical production. As an additional benefit, the glycerin-based process used at the Ertvelde site requires fewer production steps than hydrolysis, increasing the efficiency of Oleon’s bio PG production.

BASF not only researched the glycerin-based production technology it realized with Oleon, but also supplies the chemical catalysts that are key enablers for the advanced bio PG production process.

“We’re proud to have worked with Oleon to bring this innovative production technology to market,” said Michael Baier, Vice President, Process Catalysts & Technologies with BASF’s Catalysts division. “Moving forward, using glycerin as a starting substance, bio PG production is possible in a far more sustainable way. This is a perfect example of how BASF creates chemistry for a sustainable future.”

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