HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – BASF has completed an investment project to expand production at its Alabama mobile catalyst manufacturing site, which has been in operation for more than four decades.

BASF said the Huntsville site expansion began 18 months ago and created 10 jobs. The company said the expansion enables it to continue creating emission control technologies for cleaner air while simultaneously helping the automotive industry grow.

“The Huntsville facility is our largest emissions catalyst manufacturing site in North America, and this expansion demonstrates our commitment to our business growth strategy,”said Ken Lane, president of BASF’s Catalyst Division. “The additional capacity will meet the growing market demand and customer technology needs in the region.”

BASF held a press briefing to announce the completion of the expansion and to recognize and celebrate a first-ever manufacturing milestone for the site — the production of the 400 millionth automotive catalytic converter.

“Manufacturing is a booming industry in Alabama, and the motor vehicle parts sector continues to be the strongest and most successful. BASF is leading the charge in positive economic growth in our city and our state,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.

“More than 650 of our local residents have gained employment since they opened this plant in 1974, which results in a payroll of more than $44.5 million,” he said. “The company also pays more than $1.6 million in local and state taxes, which further our government programs and initiatives. These funds support K-12 education and health care, improving our quality of life.”

Game-changing technology

BASF said the journey to 400 million catalysts began in 1973 when the automotive catalytic converter was developed. The first catalytic converter was mass produced and featured in a 1975 automobile, and since its inception has eliminated more than 95 percent of harmful emissions from gasoline-engine exhaust.

There are more than half a billion cars on the roads worldwide and nearly 200 million trucks, and the technology is incorporated into almost every vehicle.

“We have a world-class team at the BASF Huntsville facility,” said Dirk Demuth, BASF senior vice president, Catalysts Division. “This facility and all 400 million catalytic converters are visual representations of the important work that is accomplished here every single day.

“Our employees ensure that our products are developed with integrity and the highest attention to detail, safety and environmental responsibility – and we can proudly say that we are creating chemistry for a sustainable future,” he said.

The Huntsville facility also celebrated a milestone in sustainability by significantly reducing production waste and achieving a Virtually Zero Waste Facility certification, a prominent title awarded for facilities that innovatively reduce waste.

This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.

Jerry Underwood for Made in Alabama | © 2017, alabamanewscenter.com

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