BASF introduces X3D, an AM-based approach to catalyst shaping

BASF's Catalysts division could deliver them in industrial quantities to improve the sustainability of chemical processes

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While BASF has been very active in the production of “conventional” additive manufacturing materials and providing AM services, the company had not yet presented valid cases for the adoption of AM technologies across its many vertical divisions. That changes now with the novel X3D technology, a new additive manufacturing approach for industrial catalyst production based on 3D printing.

Catalysts produced with this technology feature an open structure, reducing the pressure drop across the reactor and a high surface area, significantly improving the catalysts’ performance. BASF has the capabilities to supply commercial quantities.

BASF introduces X3D, an AM-based approach to catalyst shaping and could deliver them in industrial quantities A catalyst is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself undergoing any permanent chemical change. Industrial catalysts are used in the chemical industry and for industrial research. Different catalysts are in constant development to fulfill economic, political and environmental demands. When using a catalyst, it is possible to replace a polluting chemical reaction with a more environmentally friendly alternative. Today, and in the future, this can be vital for the chemical industry.

BASF’s Catalysts division is the world’s leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. The group offers expertise in the development of technologies and proprietary solutions that protect anything from breathable air to fuels and a the process used to produce a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products, including advanced battery materials.

“With this technology, we are able to provide catalysts that are tailored to our customers’ needs to help significantly boost their plant performance while reducing energy consumption and increasing sustainability at the customer level”, said Detlef Ruff, Senior Vice President, Process Catalysts at BASF. “BASF’s technical service team will work with customers to identify the best catalytic technology for their individual projects,” said Chris Wai, Vice President, Global Chemical Market Catalysts at BASF.

BASF’s X3D technology offers greater freedom of catalyst design compared to conventional production technologies. It brings catalysts’ performance to the next level and helps to customize catalysts to customers’ specific conditions and needs by designing infill patterns, fiber diameters and orientations. Customers can benefit from an increased reactor output, higher product quality and lower energy consumption. The novel catalysts are mechanically robust and proven in commercial plant operation externally and for several years in BASF.

BASF can apply the technology to a wide variety of existing catalytic materials, including base or precious metal catalysts and carrier materials. BASF’s Sulfuric Acid catalysts O4-111 X3D and O4-115 X3D are the first catalysts produced with the new technology and are used in industrial plants.

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