Ludwigshafen, Germany – International chemical company BASF has broken ground for a new sodium methylate production plant in Brazil that will be its largest site in South America. The chemical is used as a catalyst in the production of biodiesel.

The plant will have a capacity of 60,000 metric tonnes per year and is primarily intended to supply the regional market. It is the second BASF plant for sodium methylate, in addition to a plant in Germany.

BASF expects about 15 per cent of the annual global demand for biodiesel, which is about 30 million tonnes, to come from South America in 2015. The plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2011.

Brazil, Argentina and other South American countries have mandated that fuel contain five per cent biodiesel from 2010 onwards.

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