Friedrichshafen, Germany — Electric vehicles and sustainability are creating opportunities for materials made by BASF SE.
"We're preparing for new trends in e-mobility," Jürgen Becky, senior vice president of performance materials Europe, said Oct. 13 at Fakuma 2021 in Friedrichshafen. "We're developing new safety concepts for our materials in power trains and components."
Materials made by Ludwigshafen, Germany-based BASF also are being used in motors, batteries and battery cases in electric vehicles. The firm's polyurethane foams also have EV applications.
EV material demand in 2021 is up from both 2019 and 2020, according to Becky. Supply chain issues have made it a challenge for BASF to supply customers in some cases.
BASF "is heading full speed" into sustainability, Becky said.
"The most important thing is to bring down CO2 emissions," he added. BASF is working to meet that goal by lowering the environmental impact of its production sites and by offering customers materials that are bio-based or that have recycled content.
BASF also is finding opportunities for its specialty polyphthalamide (PPA) resins in fuel cells and consumer electronics, according to Abdullah Shaikh, global PPA business management leader. The materials are replacing metal in fuel cells used in powertrains on buses and trains.
In consumer electronics, BASF PPA is used in structural parts for laptops, Shaikh said. The materials also were recently used in components for a Casio watch.
Shaikh said PPA often is selected because of its higher melt temperature, high flow and ability to make very thin parts.
BASF also recently launched a new flame-retardant Ultramid-brand nylon 6/6 grade that expands the portfolio of color-stable, tailor-made engineering plastics for use in electric cars.
Other new material offerings from BASF include:
• An Ultradur-brand PBT grade that can be co-extruded with PVC and is now available with a significantly improved property profile. Officials said that with the new Ultradur, PVC window profiles can be mechanically stiffened in the co-extrusion process.
• An Ultradur grade for the extrusion of films and thermoforming of food packaging. The monomaterial had excellent barrier properties and enables mechanical recycling, officials said.
• A grade of Ultrason-brand polyarylether sulphone (PAES) for household, automotive and electrical/electronic uses.
BASF makes a wide range of specialty plastics and chemicals. Globally, the firm employs more than 110,000 and had 2020 sales of more than $69 billion.