BASF Opens Research Center in Ludwigshafen

BASF has opened a research center at the Verbund site in Ludwigshafen close to the Ammonia Lab. This pilot plant facility for catalyst and process development will be operated by the global research unit Process Research & Chemical Engineering. BASF stated that the research center houses highly automated experimental facilities for efficient process development and testing of new process catalysts. The lab is also reported to include modular construction of the testing facilities, the use of digital technologies to better visualize and manage the pilot plant facilities, and a digitalized working environment.

BASF stated that it is investing a single-digit million euro sum each year in this complex project. Once the upgrades are completed, this building will be the central hub for experimental work with automated pilot plants for liquid and gaseous substances, the company said.

“With the increasing importance of the BASF segments Chemicals and Industrial Solutions, there is a growing need for product research and especially process research,” said Dr. Detlef Kratz, head of the research unit Process Research & Chemical Engineering. “In our pilot plant facility, we are using state-of-the-art infrastructure to carry out experiments. This enables us to pursue new research approaches and reduce the length of research and development projects, while also continuing to improve the quality of the data collected. We are thus systematically pursuing our goal of increasing the likelihood of success of our projects.”

The pilot plants can reportedly be managed and monitored from separate quiet workspaces or directly in front of the pilot plant via computer, tablet, or smartphone. Experimental programs can be visually planned and carried out with various distributed control systems. Measurement and analysis data are automatically collected, logically amalgamated and made available for further evaluation.

According to BASF, the individual data systems at the pilot plants are perfectly harmonized, and seamless integration of process and analytical data enables automatic integration and evaluation of processes.