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Creating chemistry for a sustainable future

As an energy intensive company, BASF South East Asia is committed to energy efficiency and global climate protection.

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"We invest in innovation and offer our customers sustainable solutions that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy and resource efficiency," says Mr Vanneuville.

FOR its sterling efforts in promoting energy efficiency, BASF South East Asia Pte Ltd has won the Excellence in Energy Management award this year at the annual Energy Efficiency National Partnership (EENP) Awards. This award recognises companies that have demonstrated a high level of commitment to excellence in energy management. The EENP is a voluntary partnership initiative for companies wishing to be more energy efficient.

Sharing the company's philosophy, Dieter Vanneuville, site manager, Performance Chemicals, Jurong Island, BASF South East Asia Pte Ltd, says: "Creating chemistry for a sustainable future is at the heart of what BASF does."

In 2015, BASF set a global energy efficiency goal to achieve 90 per cent coverage of its primary energy demand through certified energy management systems at all relevant production sites by 2020. All energy efficiency measures were recorded and analysed in a global database and made available to BASF sites as best practices. Last year, the company's site on Jurong Island became the first BASF site in Southeast Asia to attain this goal - three years ahead of the target.

"The award is a good recognition of BASF's efforts and contributions. We want to contribute to a world that provides a viable future with enhanced quality of life for everyone. Our efforts go beyond our own production sites. We invest in innovation and offer our customers sustainable solutions that contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy and resource efficiency," says Mr Vanneuville.

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As an energy intensive company, BASF is committed to energy efficiency and global climate protection. "Our Verbund principle, which is about intelligent interlinking of production plants, energy flows and infrastructures, contributes to efficient use of resources," he adds.

At BASF's Verbund sites, it produces products along the entire value chains that extend from basic chemicals right through to high value added products such as coatings and crop protection agents. In addition, the by-products of one plant can be used as the starting materials of another. In this system, chemical processes consume less energy, produce higher product yields and conserve resources. This saves on raw materials and energy, minimises emissions, cuts logistics costs and exploits synergies.

"On a global scale, BASF realises annual savings of more than one billion euros (S$1.6 billion) through its Verbund concept. It also generates ecological benefits at the same time. Our production activities are more cost effective, safer and environmentally compatible. We save energy through efficient processes and we reduce transport impact. These enable BASF to sustain competitiveness while making our customers more successful," says Mr Vanneuville.

BASF has two main strategies to achieve energy efficiency at its Jurong Island site - first, to improve the effectiveness of its energy management system, and second, to improve overall site energy performance. Over the last five years, through these strategies the company has reduced its specific energy consumption by 40 per cent, achieving better energy efficiency. This was despite an increase in the production level.

"In 2013, we commissioned a new production line at our Jurong Island site, where a process to entirely bypass a heating and cooling step without any impact on product quality was also implemented. This resulted in significant energy savings. More recently, we replaced our chillers with a more energy efficient design, contributing to energy efficiency. We also consistently monitor energy usage through real time data collection, process and energy optimisation measures," Mr Vanneuville highlights.

At the Jurong Island site, BASF aimed to improve its annual site specific energy consumption by 5 per cent in the variable energy component. Energy consumption and energy performance indicators were reported and analysed frequently against the energy baseline or target at the site, plant and significant energy use levels.

External training courses and awareness training sessions were also provided to meet the training needs of energy managers and to inculcate a culture of energy stewardship among employees.

BASF says that energy efficiency improvement measures were identified and implemented through improvement in process, operation, maintenance and modification projects. Since the commissioning of the new Irganox® 1010 production line in 2013, the Jurong Island production site has achieved greater production milestones through process optimisation and production de-bottlenecking that contributed to sustained improvement in site specific energy consumption. For example, in the Irganox® 1010 crystallisation process, steam consumption could be reduced by entirely bypassing a heating and cooling step without any impact to product quality. This process change yielded an annual equivalent energy reduction of 287,621 kWh in steam consumption.

Other projects at BASF include replacement of the chilled water and glycol chillers. Better efficiency in the operation of the chillers is achieved by adopting more energy efficient designs, and improving part load efficiency.

For developing new in-house capability in energy efficiency, BASF has a team of employees trained in energy efficiency. It also regularly shares information and best practices on energy efficiency with other company sites worldwide.

As for plans for promoting energy efficiency going forward, Mr Vanneuville says: "At BASF, we are continuously committed to achieving our energy efficiency goal. Our employees work hand in hand with us too. Energy management training and resources are readily available to our people, to inculcate a culture of energy stewardship. As a company, we will continue to work towards achieving 90 per cent coverage of our primary energy demand through certified energy management systems at all relevant production sites by 2020."

BASF has been in Singapore since 1978, and today operates four production facilities and maintains regional business units in Singapore. Its Jurong Island site produces antioxidant additives, primarily for polymer applications. It caters to a wide range of industries, including automotive, construction, electronics, packaging and textiles.

The company also has a Learning Campus in Singapore, which offers leadership and business related learning for BASF employees in Asia Pacific, and a Newtrition® Lab Asia Pacific, a technical application laboratory for BASF's nutrition and health business. BASF posted sales to customers in Singapore of about 246 million euros in 2017, and had 617 employees here as at the end of the year.