The development of chemicals based on biological feedstocks is critical for a sustainable future, and BASF is proud to support this industry with world-class catalysts. We offer a suite of heterogeneous catalysts and adsorbents that can be used to convert a variety of biorenewable feedstocks into valuable chemicals, oils, lubes and fuels.

The perfect solution for your industry needs

BASF has been driving innovation in catalyst research for more than 100 years. Our catalysts provide solutions for multiple applications and renewable feedstocks such as: Oils & fats hydrogenation, fatty alcohol & furfuryl alcohol production, fatty amine & fatty nitrile synthesis, sugar hydrogenation and alcohol dehydration. In addition to our well-established catalyst portfolio, BASF offers both a process and catalysts for the conversion of glycerin to 1,2-propanediol (MPG). 

We create chemistry based on biological feedstocks and are passionate about chemistry. BASF catalysts help you to take advantage of our century of expertise.

The dehydration of methanol to DME is an integral part of several important syngas-based routes towards olefins and engine fuels.

BASF has developed in-depth experience on this application and is able to offer a state-of-the-art alumina catalyst portfolio including an advanced trilobe shape. 

Our customers benefit from the high activity at low temperature with conversion level close to equilibrium and selectivity towards DME above 99%. Benefits for our customers with Al 3992 E are as following:

  • Broader operating window and flexible adjusting process parameter

  • Conversion close to equilibrium and selectivity towards DME above 99%

  • Energy saving due to high activity at low temperature 

  • Cost saving due to lower bulk density and longer lifetime

The ethanol to ethylene process (E2E) represents an attractive option to enter the diverse ethylene value chains based on alternative feedstocks. BASF has developed in-depth experience on this application and is able to offer a state-of-the-art alumina catalyst portfolio for the steam-assisted dehydration of different ethanol grades. Our customers benefit from the best possible raw material utilization with both conversion level and selectivity towards ethylene above 99% regularly demonstrated on industrial scale.

The C3/C4 alcohol dehydration to olefin process represents an attractive option to enter the diverse C3/C4 value chains based on bio-feedstocks. 

BASF supplies alumina catalyst which have proven their performance for many years on industrial scale.

Our customers benefit from the high catalytic performance with good tolerance towards water levels contained in the alcohol feedstock. 

Looking for options to upgrade your glycerin business? Do you want to improve your value chain carbon footprint and develop into a bio refinery?

The oversupply of glycerin derived from production of biodiesel or fatty alcohols resulted in significant decrease in prices and made glycerin a low-price commodity limiting the outlets and margins for glycerin producers. Bio propylene glycol as a new outlet for glycerin is an attractive bulk chemical in a fast-growing market and offers multiple benefits to producers and has applications in many different industries, such as urethanes, polyester resins, food and beverage processing and deicing/antifreeze agent.

Bio propylene glycol represents an attractive alternative to conventionally produced propylene glycol from glycerin which does not rely on petroleum as raw material and offers an environmental advantage. 

BASF teamed-up with Air Liquide Engineering & Construction, a market leader providing superior technology solutions for the world’s oleochemicals producers, to license the commercially proven BASF technology for hydrogenolysis of glycerol to bio propylene glycol. Glycerin is hydrogenated at very high conversion and selectivity in liquid phase with a proprietary BASF copper catalyst. The conversion to bio propylene glycol is taking place in two serial fixed bed reactors and at temperatures between 175 to 195 °C and at a pressure of 75 or 200 bar. The crude product is then further purified downstream in a two-column distillation to produce propylene glycol with a technical grade of more than 99.5% purity. Pharma grade bio propylene glycol is possible to produce depending on feedstock quality. 

The technology for production of Bio Propylene Glycol is commercially proven and successfully operating since 2012.


Hydrogenation of furfural to furfuryl alcohol furfuryl alcohol is produced by hydrogenation of furfural over Cu catalysts. Furfural is produced from various agricultural produces and is thus a renewable feedstock.

The hydrogenation reaction can be carried out in vapor or liquid phase using fixed bed or stirred reactors. Furfuryl alcohol yield and selectivity, in addition to furfural conversion, is also dependent on choice of process conditions and furfural precursor quality. Excessive temperature can result in unwanted byproducts such as 2-methylfuran, tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol (THFA) and ethers from ring cleavage. Furfural of lesser quality grades can contain high amounts of acetic acid or sulfur resulting in premature degradation of the catalyst.

BASF supplied copper catalysts are in tabletted or powdered form for this application. These catalysts offer excellent conversion and selectivity performance while maintaining resistance to poisoning and deactivation. 

Sorbitol is a sugar polyol extensively used in nutrition, cosmetics, and medical or industrial applications. Sorbitol can be produced from glucose hydrogenation in the presence of noble metals and nickel catalysts. 

BASF offers a broad portfolio of precious metal and nickel catalysts. Of particular importance is BASF’s heterogeneous catalyst for the conversion of glucose to sorbitol.

Features of BASF‘s catalysts include:

  • Excellent conversion and selectivity for the production of sorbitol

  • Continuous hydrogenation with no metal leaching 

  • Less by-product formation for easier work-up