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.
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Sorbead® Air: The Ideal Adsorbent for Air Drying

Sorbead® Air is known to cut energy and maintenance costs significantly due to many of its properties. It is the best adsorbent to use for the dehydration of air because of its:

Video Compressed Air Drying with Sorbead® Air

Large surface area, which leads to a larger adsorption capacity

  • 5% in energy due to high dynamic capacity

Low desorption temperature, which decreases the amount of energy used in regeneration

  • 15% in energy due to low desorption temperatures

Long lifetime due to its abrasion resistance and mechanical and thermal stability

  • 25% to 40% on refills due to long life span

Ability to achieve low pressure dew points

Sorbead® Air can be used in the most energy efficient, environmentally friendly systems.

Dryer Sorbead® Air Activated Alumina Molecular Sieve
External heat-regenerated (purgeless)
Heat-of-Compression (HOC)
Cold regenerated (heatless)
External heat-regenerated (standard)

External heat regenerated (purgeless)

Low-energy external heat-regenerated adsorption dryer which is desorbed and cooled with sucked in ambient air (blower air). An external electric heater, steam or other heat transfer medium is used for heating. This modern purgeless or zero purge system requires no compressed air and depending on the required pressure dew point.


  • Desorption in countercurrent to adsorption
  • Co-current cooling to adsorption
  • No dry compressed air required for cooling,

Pressure dew points: -15 to -60°C

Zero purge

  • Desorption in countercurrent to adsorption
  • Co-current cooling to adsorption in suction operation
  • No dry compressed air required for cooling,

Pressure dew points: -25 to -60°C


  • Desorption in Cocurrent to adsorption
  • Co-current cooling to adsorption
  • No dry compressed air required for cooling,

Pressure dew points: -25 to -40°C


  • Suction Desorption (Vacuum) in Co-current to adsorption
  • Co-current cooling to adsorption
  • No dry compressed air required for cooling,

Pressure dew points: -25 to -60°C

Closed Loop

  • Desorption in countercurrent to adsorption
  • Countercurrent cooling to adsorption in a closed loop with an reheration cooler
  • No dry compressed air required for cooling,

Pressure dew points: -25 to -60°C

Heat-of-Compression (HOC)

The Heat-of-Compression dryer is a heat regenerated adsorption dryer which uses the hot compressed air of a compressor (oil free) for desorption in full flow. The closed system is regenerated under pressure and the hot compressed air coming from the compressor is used for desorption.

These systems are among the lowest energy compressed air dryers and show how economically and efficiently dry compressed air can be produced.

In addition to the variant shown above, there are also systems that regenerate in partial flow or systems that use an integrated compressed air aftercooler, so that the compressor is designed as a hot-air version without an aftercooler.

  • Desorption in countercurrent to adsorption
  • Co-current cooling to adsorption (in full or split stream)
  • integrated regeneration combi cooler for cooling the desorption and cooling flow rates
  • achievable pressure dew points as a function of compressor temperature (hot air)
  • can be used with oil-free piston, screw and turbo compressors
  • Possible in case of too low final compressor temperatures or lower dew points in a additional heating process

Pressure dew points: -15 to -40°C

Recommended products:

Sorbead® Air WS


Cold regenerated dryers (heatless) work without heat but with additional compressed air. These pressure swing adsorption dryers require a partial flow of depressurized dry compressed air (15-20%) throughout the cycle for regeneration. The changeover takes place after only a few minutes with low water adsorption of the desiccant of less than 1 wt-%. The high consumption of dry compressed air depending on the operating pressure results in relatively high energy costs during operation.

Pressure dew points: -25 to -40 °C

Recommended products:

F-200 4A Molecular Sieve

External heat regenerated (standard)

This system is the basic version of External heat regenerated adsorption dryers and probably the most widely used heat regenerated dryer process. These standard systems are desorbed with External heated blower air and then cooled by a short blower run and a partial flow of dry compressed air.

The consumption of dry compressed air (8-12 %) during the cooling phase and the high desorption temperatures, as well as a sometimes quite high differential pressure in the adsorber bed, its reducing the efficiency of this system enormously.

  • dry compressed air is required for cooling (purge)
  • short drying times with low reserves (stand-by phase)

Pressure dew points: -25 to -40°C

Product Portfolio

BASF offers a full portfolio of products to support the compressed air industry including Activated Alumina and Molecular Sieves.

Sorbead® Air

BASF Sorbead® Air line is a high-performance alumino-silicate gel adsorbents for dehydration of air, technical gases and liquids. The patented BASF Sorbead® Air products feature high surface area, enhanced robustness, low pressure dew points accessible, low desorption temperature.

Activated Alumina

BASF F-200 is a smooth sphere of activated alumina produced by BASF’s unique manufacturing process. F-200 is an excellent desiccant for drying a wide variety of liquids and gases. Although all molecules are adsorbed to some extent on F-200 activated alumina, those molecules having the highest polarity are preferentially absorbed.

Molecular Sieve

BASF Molecular Sieve Adsorbents are crystalline aluminosilicates with frameworks that contain monovalent or multivalent cations from the alkali or alkaline earth group, as well as water in its as-synthesized form. This crystal water can be removed by thermal treatment without damaging the crystalline structure to create the conditions for a reversible process such as water adsorption/desorption.

Other products in our portfolio can be found below:

Sorbead® Air WS

Sorbead® Air WS is an alumino-silicate gel in our line of highly efficient adsorbents ideally suited for the compressed air market.

Sorbead® Air R

Sorbead® Air R is an alumino-silicate gel in our line of highly efficient adsorbents ideally suited for the compressed air market.


Activated Alumina for Liquid and Gas Drying BASF F-200 is a smooth sphere of activated alumina produced by BASF’s unique manufacturing process.

4A Molecular Sieve

BASF 4A Molecular Sieve is a widely used adsorbent for many different applications. BASF 4A exhibits high water adsorption capacity at low partial pressures and at temperatures up to 100 °C.

Sorbead® Environmental CO2 Footprint Tool

Energy Savings Tool

BASF Catalysts | Compressed Air Drying

Looking for an energy consumption analysis?

BASF is in position to provide a customer with detailed energy consumption analysis for a specific dryer using our EnerSave tool. Use our form and our engineers will be in touch with you with a technical report highlighting potential savings if Sorbead® Air is installed. All data are treated fully confidentially.

Click here to begin saving

Cost Optimization with Sorbead® Inside

Our cost optimization tool will show you Sorbead® Air is the best adsorbent for you.

Type in your own costs, operation hours, and desiccant lifetimes to see how much you can save investing in Sorbead® Air.

Click here to see your savings

BASF Catalysts | Compressed Air

Sorbead® Air Partnership Program

Sorbead® Air Inside Program has been designed to develop more significant relationships with Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM) companies who recognize unique value of market-leading Sorbead® Air adsorbents for compressed air dryers. This mutually beneficial partnership ensures that OEM receives all necessary technical and commercial support while using Sorbead® Air products in existing or new lines of compressed air dryers. Sorbead® Air Inside Program features:

Unique commercial benefits and long-term commercial partnership

Technical trainings on Sorbead Air ® properties, functions and capabilities

Access to Sorbead® Air Technical Design Guidelines

Access to Spent sample analysis program

Technical service support by BASF experts

Access to BASF cross-marketing program

For more details about Sorbead® Air Inside Program, please contact BASF.

Our Sorbead® Air Inside partners:

Click here to learn more

Dryer Manufacturer companies using Sorbead® Air:

Filtrations-Separations-Technik (FST)
Click here to learn more

News & Media

Customer Success Stories

Industrial Fibers manufacturer issues with process air dew point

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A manufacturer of industrial fibers experienced issues with reaching pressure dew point of -10 °C in process air during cold seasons. The process air was used to drive pneumatic equipment and the conveyor lines in a plant which ideally required pressure dewpoint of -25 °C. Some of the conveyor lines run through open areas outside where temperatures of below -20 °C were frequently seen.

Customer had two compressed air stations with dryers loaded with activated alumina desiccant. BASF performed technical evaluation and recommended to change the desiccant type from activated alumina to Sorbead® Air R/WS to improve performance under those conditions. After dryers were refilled with Sorbead® Air pressure dew point of -60 °C was steadily reached in process air. Furthermore, the operator of the plant emphasized that the regeneration conditions were not changed when switching from activated alumina to Sorbead® Air which implied that desorption was still carried out at the same bed inlet temperature and the lowest dew points have still been reached. According to the operator, operating the dryers with the aluminum oxide filling would undoubtedly have led to a breakdown due to icing of the conveyor lines.

Refinery using low-pressure steam for regeneration of adsorbent

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A refinery in Southern Germany had excess of low-pressure steam (4 barg) that could be utilized as the heat energy source. When reviewing the most suited adsorbent for their externally-heated dryer system, the choice was made to use high energy-efficiency Sorbead® Air adsorbent. Since Sorbead® Air adsorbent installment, target pressure dew point of -30°C has been consistently reached. It was also shown that in continuous operation mode dew points below -40°C are achievable.

If a standard adsorbent had been used, the use of low-pressure steam for adsorbent regeneration would not be possible. Due to the higher desorption temperature of, for example, activated alumina, an electric heater or expensive high-pressure steam (10 bar) would have been required. The operator of the compressed air dryer says: " By using Sorbead® Air adsorbent and our low-pressure steam we saved about 38,000 EUR in energy cost per year".

Two partners, one individual solution

Learn more

Individual compressed air treatment, adapted to difficult local conditions. Effective engineering and good cooperation between all parties involved made it possible.

News Releases

Sep 05, 2018

BASF launches adsorbent Sorbead® Air to meet needs of compressed air market

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Apr 20, 2017

BASF invests in sustainable production for high performance silica adsorbents in Germany

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Feb 01, 2024

BASF Environmental Catalyst and Metal Solutions (ECMS) completes acquisition of Arc Metal AB in Sweden

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Resources & Downloads

View more in the Literature Library

Get in Touch

Complete the form to get in touch with a BASF representative to learn more about our Compressed Air Drying Solutions.