BASF Catalysts offers exceptional expertise in the development of technologies that protect the air we breathe, produce the fuels that power our world and ensure efficient production of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products including advanced battery materials. BASF’s Catalysts division is the world’s leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. The group offers exceptional expertise in the development of technologies that protect the air we breathe, produce the fuels that power our world and ensure efficient production of a wide variety of chemicals, plastics and other products, including advanced battery materials. We believe mobility’s future lies in more than just products. So where others come to a full stop, we’re just getting started—by leveraging the full power of BASF to continually advance our comprehensive package of sustainable solutions that enable us to travel further, as well as above and beyond. A leading supplier of high performance cathode active materials (CAM) for electrified vehicles to battery producers and automotive OEMs around the world. Protecting the air we breathe from harmful emissions through innovation. BASF leverages unsurpassed expertise in the development of emission control technologies for a wide range of market applications. BASF is committed to advancing and promoting environmentally-sound technologies to achieve a sustainable future in aviation. Offering 50 years of experience developing intelligent solutions for air quality over a wide range of applications — enabling clean air for a healthier, more sustainable future. As the global leader in chemical catalysts, BASF develops cutting-edge catalyst chemistry with our customers’ needs in mind. We want to contribute to a world that provides a viable future with enhanced quality of life for everyone. We do so by creating chemistry for our customers and society and by making the best use of available resources. BASF offers the widest portfolio of adsorbent technologies for a broad spectrum of applications in industries such as refining, petrochemical, chemical, and gas processing. Syngas, produced from natural gas or coal, is a key intermediate in the emerging technologies for gas-to-liquids (GTL), methanol-to-olefins, coal-to-liquids and fuel cells. At BASF, our Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) catalyst and additive offerings together with our expert technical services build the right solution to create value within any unit’s constraints. Paving the way toward a brighter, more secure future. Manufacturing products for sustainable solutions, reducing emissions from our processes, and using non-fossil fueled energy sources – all of these efforts help lead BASF on a continuing journey of sustainability. BASF Natural Gas experts have a diverse portfolio of products to custom design a solution and help you meet your Natural Gas treatment needs. BASF has been serving the natural gas treatment market for over 60 years. Innovative, step-change technology with dual-purpose performance: removal of heavy hydrocarbons and water to cryogenic specifications in a single unit. With more than 150 years of experience in metal sourcing, trading, and hedging, we’ve built tangible results for our industrial customers. With more than 100 years of experience in recycling materials, BASF’s end-to-end recycling program is known and trusted around the globe. As a leader in precious-metal thermocouples for many years, BASF recently applied its technological expertise to optical-based temperature measurement. Developing and producing pharmaceutical ingredients for more than 75 years, enabling us to provide the solutions you need to meet today's and tomorrow's challenges for your pharmaceutical business. Find the latest news and media information for BASF’s Catalysts division, headquartered in Iselin, New Jersey, USA, the world’s leading supplier of environmental and process catalysts. Explore this collection of resources to learn more about our innovative research and Catalyst solutions.
BASF Catalysts | Facility Syngas

Choose your language

This section is available in the following languages: English

Follow us on Linkedin

Our maleic anhydride catalysts are valued components of the oxidation process for worldwide chemical manufacturing companies. BASF’s commitment to the maleic anhydride process and butane oxidation to maleic anhydride catalysts results in products and services that meet and surpass customer expectations and requirements.


BASF is the only major producer of MA catalysts with:

  • Own Catalyst R&D with lab and pilot scale production including performance testing at Ludwigshafen, Germany
  • Own MA catalyst production at Ludwigshafen, Germany
  • Own MA reference plants under different operation conditions (e.g., single pass, recycle mode)
  • The excellent technical service from BASF is well known in the market from phthalic anhydride (PA) catalyst filling, start-up and customer contacts during operation. Additionally BASF further developed the new MA filling machines and ΔP measurement devices
Brochure cover

BASF Maleic Anhydride (MA) Catalysts Brochure

Download pdf (2.965 MB)
Maleic Anhydride Timeline



BASF’s n-Butane to Maleic Anhydride Process

Maleic anhydride can be produced by passing a C4 stream containing n-butane mixed with a large excess of air into a fixed-bed tubular reactor, where the butanes are oxidized to maleic anhydride with BASF maleic anhydride catalysts.

MA catalysts process

MA Catalyst is designed for:

  • High performance with n-butane loads up to 44 ln-c4 /l*h
  • Optimized high MA product yield and high operating flexibility
  • Low pressure drop, constant over total lifetime
  • Long catalyst lifetime due to low deactivation rate
  • Dedicated low by-product level

The main uses of MA include:

  • Unsaturated polyester resin (UPR)
  • 1,4 butanediol (BDO)
  • Specialty acid, such as malic, fumaric polyaspartic acids
  • Lubricating oil additive
  • Polybutylene succinate (PBS), biodegradable aliphatic polyester
  • Others, such as engineering plastics, fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals

Research & Development

Innovation – New Processes, Technologies and Products for a Sustainable Future

Resource-efficient solutions and business models to decouple growth from the consumption of finite resources.

Our success factors include:

  • Customer focus
  • Digitalization
  • Creativity
  • Efficiency
  • Collaboration with external partner

Full-scale pilot reactors for MA catalysts technology:

  • Best possible quality control
  • Most accurate performance measurements for new developments
  • Directly measure real scale effects
  • Global expenditures for research and development over € 2 billion, world leader in chemical industry
  • Approximately 10,000 employees world-wide involved in research and development
  • Around 950 new patents filed in 2020
  • Global Know-how Verbund with external partners
RD diagram2 MA catalysts
Shanghai MA catalysts

Shanghai BASF Process Catalysis R&D Center

  • Grand opening in 2019, dedicated R&D center for process catalysts and adsorbents research
  • Development of catalysts and adsorbent solutions mainly for Asian Market
  • Fast and timely support to our local customers, including BASF MA catalyst customers
  • Catalysts characterization: ICP-OES, XRF, XRD, SEM/TEM, BET, XPS
    • MA composition analysis: PMA, CMA, light ends, heavy ends analysis, through GC, GC-MS
    • Raw material analysis: o-Xylene and naphthalene analysis through GC, GC-MS, AAS, CHNS/O analyzer
    • MA production simulation and optimization

Product Portfolio

Catalyst O4-204
Application Oxidation of n-butane to maleic anhydride (fixed bed)
Catalyst Composition Vanadyl-pyrophosphate (VO)2P2O7 doped with additives
Typical BASF Maleic Anhydride Catalyst Operation Conditions
n-Butane Feed rRte Up to 2.2 vol.-%
n-Butane Conversion 83–86 %
Gas Flow Rate GHSV up to 2,000 hr-1
Salt Bath Temperature Start of run: approx. 390–410 ºC, end of run: approx. 430–440 ºC
Hot Spot Temperature 420 ºC–450 ºC, or as discussed and agreed with BASF as hot spots arise
P-Dosage Necessary for stable operation
Humidity Referably adjusted with steam to 2.0–3.0%
Maleic Anhydride Catalyst Typical Reactor Condition
Number of Tubes 5,000 up to 50,000
Inner Diameter of Tube 21–25 mm
Tube Length 2,500–6,500 mm
Expected Quality of Pure MA
Color Number Max 20 (APHA)
Crystallizing Point 52.6–52.8 °C
Stability to Heat (2 hrs @ 140 °C) Max 40 apha (=HAZEN)
Assay Min. 99.5%
View more in the Literature Library

Where We Operate

Click on the map to see the locations of BASF’s research, sales and supply efforts for Maleic Anhydride Catalysts.

Get in Touch

Complete the form to get in touch with a BASF representative who can help you capitalize on new opportunities in the Maleic Anhydride space.