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"BASF’s technology used in over 400M cars helps drivers reduce air pollutants by ≈20.6M/year."

The Impaakt Team

7 min Read Time | September 24th 2021

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Welcome to the article of the week, highlighting the environmental and social impact of a company through a recently published article on the Impaakt platform. Every article measures how sustainable a business really is, ultimately looking at their core impact.

The winner this week is:

Written by: Jennifer Tapia Boada

Company: BASF

SDG 12: 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

Read the full article below.

"BASF’s technology used in over 400M cars helps drivers reduce air pollutants by ≈20.6M/year."

Catalysts speed up chemical reactions by lowering the amount of energy needed to turn raw materials into useful products1. They are involved in the manufacture of 80% of products globally2, used for, inter alia, cars, soap, drinks, polymers, glass and paper3. Catalysis is also used for air pollution control from vehicles (there are ≈500M on the roads worldwide4) by placing catalytic converters in vehicles’ internal combustion engines5. They can convert toxic exhaust gas into less toxic gases5 by decreasing air pollutants (85% CO, 62% NOx, and 87% HC6) in line with emission limits and environmental concerns5.

BASF is the world’s largest chemical firm with USD67.5bn in sales in 20207. It runs 6 segments8: The Surface Technology (ST), offering chemical solutions for surfaces through Catalysts and Coatings across all regions, makes ≈$19.7bn in sales/year (28% of BASF’s sales9). The largest share of ST’s divisions’ sales come from Europe, but the said divisions reach markets in all regions of the world11.

With 81% of the ST’s sales ($15.96bn)10, the Catalysts division is the No 2 global leader, offering Process Catalysts for the chemical industry and Mobile Emission Catalysts for vehicles11. Meeting emission standards for gasoline and diesel cars, the catalysts for vehicles make 87% of the division’s sales11.

BASF developed the first catalytic converter in 1975, introducing the three-way catalyst, capable of destroying 99% of HC, CO, and NOx emitted by cars. Since its creation, the three-way catalyst has destroyed close to a billion tonnes of these emissions globally (20.6M t/year)12. By 2017, BASF had produced 400M catalytic converters4. In the last 6 years, it acquired 2x the catalysts’ patents of its nearest competitor12. Today, it takes 100 cars with BASF’s converters to equal the emissions from one car pre-197412.

As a global leading provider of a variety of catalysts, BASF has helped drivers reduce air pollution by a billion tonnes in the last 44 years.

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