From biomass to plastics: first BASF polyamide based on mass balance approach in serial production

TÜV SÜD issued certificates for BASF products such as superabsorbers, engineering plastics, dispersions and some intermediates

Working closely with TÜV SÜD (a third-party certification body), BASF has developed an innovative mass balance approach for the use of renewable feedstocks in the integrated production. The process is available immediately for many products and can be adapted to customers’ requirements.

The mass balance approach is comparable to feeding “green” electricity into the power grid. It offers a way to utilize renewable raw materials in BASF’s existing system of integrated production known as Verbund. Under the mass balance approach, biomass – for instance, in the form of biogas or bio-naphtha from certified sustainable production – is used as a feedstock in place of fossil resources at the beginning of the value chain and is subsequently allocated to individual products in a defined manner.

Any customer who purchases a ton of mass-balanced product can therefore rest assured that BASF has used renewable feedstock to replace the corresponding amount of fossil raw materials needed to produce the product. Depending on the customer’s wishes, between 25% and 100% of the feedstock needed can be replaced. The benefit for the customer is that the formulation and quality of the product remain identical.

TÜV SÜD has issued certificates for BASF products such as superabsorbers, engineering plastics, dispersions and some intermediates. The first shipments of mass-balanced products have already been delivered to BASF customers.

“The new method enables us to respond rapidly and flexibly to customers’ wishes,” said Dr. Lars Börger, New Business Development in the Performance Materials division. “When selecting the biomass, BASF places great value on safeguarding sustainability aspects.” Thus, bio-naphtha and biogas, for example derived from organic waste, are used for the mass balance approach. As with their petrochemical analogs, they are fed into plants at the beginning of the production process: bio-naphtha into the steam cracker and biogas into the syngas plant. The Dispersions & Pigments division has supplied a large adhesives customer with initial amounts of mass balanced products, dispersions for construction adhesives.

Kunststoffwerk AG Buchs, a subsidiary of Wiha Werkzeuge GmbH, is the first BASF Buchs meter stickcustomer to process and use the engineering plastic Ultramid® B3EG6 MB for serial production of its Longlife® brand of meter sticks. The polyamide used is one of the first BASF products to be produced and marketed on the basis of the mass balance approach. The “MB” material is derived from bio-based feedstock and thus helps to save fossil raw materials and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the mass balance approach certified by TÜV SÜD, 100% of the fossil raw materials needed to make Ultramid B3EG6 MB are replaced with renewable raw materials at the beginning of the production process. The abbreviation MB indicates the calculation via the mass balance approach. The certified MB plastic is identical to its fossil counterpart in terms of formulation and quality, and is already available in commercial quantities.


Bioplastics MAGAZINE, 2014-10-15.


Kunststoffwerk AG Buchs


Renewable Carbon News – Daily Newsletter

Subscribe to our daily email newsletter – the world's leading newsletter on renewable materials and chemicals