I have a simple question for all the undergraduate students. Does anybody know which the largest chemical manufacturers in the world are? Well, I believe a good number of students don’t know much about these companies.

With about 105,000 employees and close to 385 production sites worldwide in the world BASF is the world’s leading chemical company. It’s headquarter is situated in Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF originally stood for Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik (Baden Aniline and Soda Factory). BASF was founded on 6 April 1865 Mannheim, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, by Friedrich Engelhorn. From its name it is quite clear that BASF started its journey in 1861 with aniline which is a dyestuff and subsequently increased its production line to Soda or sodium carbonate & sulfuric acid. Its success is more appreciated with the introduction of the well known Haber process into action. Ammonia was first manufactured using the Haber process on an industrial scale in 1913 in BASF’s Oppau plant in Germany. In World War I, this process became so successful in producing explosives that many considers this revolution to be the reason for which Germany fought in the war in the first place. During the Second World War, Ludwigshafen site was destroyed and rebuilt later on. After that, BASF started adding product lines starting with nylon, polystyrene, Styropor, coatings, pharmaceuticals, crop protection agents and fertilizers. Today it produces a wide range of products that includes plastics, raw materials for detergents and adhesives, textile and leather chemicals, pigments, emulsifiers, solubilizers, anionic surfactants, glycol polymers, colorants, styling polymers, hair setting resins, conditioning agents, thickening polymers, emollients, UV absorbers, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, F500 (pyrac-lostrobin), epoxiconazole, pendi-methalin, boscalid, fipronil, seed treatment products, the Clearfield Production System and oil and gas production. With its massive production line BASF keep developing new product lines through its R & D. BASF suffered from some severe industrial accidents; however, it still stands tall and climbing up through the rough terrain of global recession.


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Chowdhury, M.M.R., BASF, ChE Thoughts 1 (1), 38, 2010.


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