BASF’s Acrylic Acid Complex, Camacari, Brazil

BASF Brazil

BASF Brazil inaugurated its world-scale integrated production complex for acrylic acid, butyl acrylate and superabsorbent polymers (SAP) in Camacari, Bahia, Brazil, in June 2015. It is the company's first acrylic acid and SAP production complex in South America. It has the capacity to produce 160,000t of acrylic acid a year.

Costing more than €500m (approximately $554m), the project represented BASF's biggest investment in South America. BASF's project partner Braskem invested approximately $30m in the project and supplied the feedstock and utilities.

"Costing more than €500m (approximately $554m), the project represented BASF's biggest investment in South America."

Acrylic acid is used in mining applications and the manufacturing of paints and industrial textiles. Butyl acrylate, a derivative of acrylic acid, is a raw material in the production of adhesives, construction chemicals and decorative paints, whereas SAP is used to produce diapers and other hygiene products, and has applications in water treatment and oil extraction.

Project benefits of BASF's acrylic plant in Camacari

The project has created 230 direct jobs and 600 indirect jobs in the region, including 2,000 jobs during the construction phase. The new plants are also expected to bring a positive impact on the Brazilian trade balance by $300m a year, $200m of which will be through reduction in imports and $100m by increasing exports.

Strategic location of BASF's acrylic acid complex in South America

BASF's new acrylic complex is located within the Camacari Industrial Complex, a petrochemical complex located in the Camacari municipality, 50km away from Salvador, the capital city of Bahia. Camacari Industrial Complex houses more than 90 chemical and petrochemical companies, and other production facilities.

BASF's Brazilian Acrylic Acid complex details

The plan for constructing the new acrylic acid complex was announced in 2011 and construction started in March 2012. The complex's main column, used in the separation and purification of acrylic acid, and reactors were transported to the project site in 2013.

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The main column, which took one year to build in China, was first transported to the Aratu Naval Base, before being conveyed to the project site. Made of stainless-steel, the column is 62.4m-high, 8.9m in diameter and weighs 456t.

Feedstock for the new acrylic acid plant

The main feedstock for the new plant includes propylene and caustic soda, which will be supplied by Braskem.

BASF plans to convert its existing butyl acrylate plant in Guaratingueta near Sao Paulo, Brazil, to a 2-ethylhexyl acrylate plant, which will become the first of its kind in South America. The acrylic acid produced at the Camacari plant will further be used as a feedstock at the proposed plant, which is expected to begin production in 2016.

Contractors involved

The engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) services contract for the project was awarded to WorleyParsons. The firm was responsible for conducting the tendering for the supply of equipment and services, engineering, design of the production units and the complete construction management.

Megatranz transported the main column from the Aratu Naval Base to the project site.