The automotive catalytic converter is arguably the most important pollution control device ever invented, removing more than 95 percent of harmful emissions from gasoline engines since its inception nearly 50 years ago.
Recently, BASF celebrated the production of its 400 millionth automotive catalyst at its Huntsville, Ala. mobile emissions manufacturing site, along with the completion of the plant’s 18-month expansion and the achievement of its Virtually Zero Waste Facility certification.
“With this milestone event, we celebrated three things,” said Joel Johnson, vice president of mobile emission catalysts at BASF, North America. “Our history as the longest running producer of automotive catalysts, our continued dedication to innovation and sustainability, and our investment in the future”
Meeting anticipated demands and driving innovation
Demand for catalytic converters has surged as automakers work toward a sustainable future with reduced emissions. The Huntsville site expansion reaffirms BASF’s commitment to meeting customer needs as the demand for emission control technologies grows, as well as anticipating future needs through its research and development activities.
“We make investments in our plants to anticipate the needs of the markets,” said Johnson. “This means scaling our operations and developing technologies to address regulatory requirements and customer trends. It is an investment in capacity and capability.”
“We make investments in our plants to anticipate the needs of the markets.”
Automakers have ramped up diesel model offerings, a trend BASF predicts will continue in the medium-duty and heavy-duty market. In addition to market growth, the company anticipates that global emission regulations will continue to tighten. The site expansion enables BASF to better address the needs of the market moving forward.
The investment has also expanded the plant’s capabilities. In 2016, the site’s research and development team installed a new coating technology within its prototype lab, allowing customers to test the process before moving into production. After a favorable response, BASF has incorporated a production scale version of the latest and best coating technology into its Huntsville operations.
Another customer-centric component of the expansion came in the form of a brand new innovation center, which gives customers the opportunity to explore interactive displays and videos highlighting BASF’s automotive solutions and collaborate with BASF chemists.
A sustainable approach to developing catalysts
It’s not just what you do, it’s how you do it. BASF focuses on developing sustainable solutions to protect and preserve the environment, and the Huntsville facility set a goal to make their production process more sustainable, too.
Their goal: dramatically reduce waste associated with operations.
The BASF Huntsville sites now proudly holds the Virtually Zero Waste Facility certification, meaning less than 2 percent of the materials they use or create are sent to a landfill. In true engineering fashion, the process started with an intensive audit identifying waste streams and areas for improvement.
“At BASF, sustainability is one of the pillars of our business strategy and one of the value contributions we bring to the market and society,” said Johnson.
BASF’s “walk the walk” approach speaks to automakers, who increasingly align business practices and products with company mission statements, employee values and commitment to the community.
Now that they’ve achieved the Virtually Zero Waste Facility certification, site employees have set their sights on the next achievement – Zero Waste Facility certification – a designation few in the industry have pursued.
Prompt service goes a long way when it comes to hitting project milestones. By expanding the plant operations, BASF can ensure that even as demand rises they are positioned to deliver the same level of service its customers have come to expect.
From pioneering catalyst technology to providing innovative solutions today, BASF has maintained a heritage of giving customers and partners a competitive edge, while contributing to cleaner air for us all.
To learn how BASF can help you meet sustainability goals, contact BASFAutomotiveSolutions@basf.com.