BASF Butadiene Extraction Technology

The value of reliability


BASF Butadiene Extraction Technology based on NMP (N-methylpyrrolidone) as solvent defines the state-of-the-art technology for recovery of high purity butadiene.

The BASF Butadiene Extraction Technology process offers:


  • High reliability
  • Stability
  • Flexibility
  • Low investment costs
  • Low operating costs
Butadiene Extraction Technology

  • Highly innovation driven
  • Unmatched in operations
  • Non-corrosive process
  • Reduced emissions
  • Tailored customer solutions


Unmatched in operations

The four to eight years of continuous on-stream operations of plants using BASF’s Butadiene Extraction process is twice the normal on-stream time of competing processes.

Non-corrosive process

The BASF Butadiene Extraction process is non-corrosive. 


Since the solvent does not react with other products in the process, the BASF Butadiene Extraction process causes negligible fouling. Carbon steel provides ample resistance in all sections of the process. Furthermore, the process solvent is an excellent one for trace polymers created in all butadiene extraction processes. This keeps the equipment clean.

Reduced emissions

Compared to competing processes, the BASF Butadiene Extraction process builds up substantially fewer residues and impurities. For example, tar is not built up at all. Disposal costs are correspondingly lower. The BASF Butadiene Extraction process produces minimal wastewater.

Selective hydrogenation (e.g. BASF SELOP® Hydrogenation) can be integrated into the process in order to transform waste C4 streams into valuable butadiene, butenes and/or butanes. This boosts butadiene and raffinate yield to 100% or more.

Tailored customer solutions

BASF offers the BASF Butadiene Extraction process for various operating conditions and product requirements. It consists of separate modules to provide optimally adapted tailor-made solutions.

  • Unsurpassed reliability
  • Stability
  • Efficiency
10th furnace stack of the steam cracker at BASF TOTAL Petrochemicals LLC in Port Arthur, Texas. The site produces basic petrochemicals and operates one of the world’s largest flexible feed steam crackers and the world’s largest butadiene extraction facility.

The BASF Butadiene Extraction process exhibits remarkable flexibility:

Its low susceptibility to impurities makes the BASF Butadiene Extraction process capable of processing any industrial C4 feedstock mixture, including but not restricted to C4-cut from naphtha crackers. It operates economically, even with low butadiene content feedstocks.

A hallmark of the BASF Butadiene Extraction process is its efficiency:

Compared to competing technologies, solvent resistance to hydrolysis and thermal decomposition reduces solvent consumption by up to 90% or more.

High yield and high purity:

Simultaneously, the process provides a high yield (>98%) of particularly high purity (>99.7%) butadiene.


The butadiene specification can be customized for each application.

Global network of expert service providers

Worldwide, approximately one-third of all plants operate on the basis of BASF Butadiene Extraction Technology. BASF maintains a global network of expert service providers for licensees of its Butadiene Extraction Technology.

BASF’s licensees benefit from the experience of its team of experts in operations, processing, materials and environmental issues. In addition, BASF cooperates with its partners, Air Liquide and Lummus, as well as other associated service providers and suppliers to the petrochemical industry.

Experts are always on hand in the event of an unexpected malfunction or operating problems.

After start-up service

As a reliable partner of its licensees, BASF provides ongoing support following start-up of the plant with:

·  Additional employee training on site

·  Regular visits to plants

·  Consultation on operational and technical aspects

·   Emergency service

BASF cooperates closely with licensees on ongoing process improvements.

The butadiene condenser structure in the olefins complex in Port Arthur, Texas. The complex is a world-scale single train butadiene extraction facility and indirect alkylation unit. Butadiene is used in the production of rubber and plastic products. End products include tires, house paints, adhesives, masonry and carpet underlay.

Many years of experience

BASF Butadiene Extraction process is operational since 1968, in the meanwhile it has logged around 1000 operational years. Since 1990s BASF has licensed its Butadiene Extraction Technology to more customers than any other licensor. In total, 70 licenses have been granted.

Reliable partner network

Since 1990, BASF partners in butadiene extraction. Lummus Technology and Air Liquide have been providing their extensive engineering services, plant construction expertise and process technology.

Their services include initial studies, basic engineering and turnkey plants.

Butadiene Extraction Technology

Lummus Technology

Lummus Technology is the global leader in developing process technologies and solutions that make modern life possible and focus on a more sustainable, low carbon future. 

Butadiene Extraction Technology

Eco-efficiency Analysis proves: 

BASF Butadiene Extraction Technology based on NMP is Efficient and Environmentally Friendly

A scientifically-based eco-efficiency analysis in cooperation with ETH Zurich (“Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich”) testifies to the high efficiency of the BASF Butadiene Extraction Technology, its environmental compatibility and low cost.

The study adhered to a procedure certified by TUV, a German testing and certification service, which compared the BASF Technology to the ACN (acetonitrile) and DMF (dimethyl formamide) processes.

Butadiene Extraction Technology
Butadiene Extraction Technology