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Volker Bach (right), head of BASF’s Global Competence Center Plastics Additives, BASF and Dr.-Ing, Martin Rheinfurth .
Volker Bach (right), head of BASF’s Global Competence Center Plastics Additives, BASF and Dr.-Ing, Martin Rheinfurth .

With an increasingly demanding growing population, modern farming faces many challenges including how to balance the need for greater yields of fruits and vegetables, whilst simultaneously meeting the ever-stringent environmental protection requirements of organic food production.

By using the energy from the sun in a world with less arable land and increasing water scarcity, Plasticulture – the use of plastic materials in agricultural applications, contributes significantly to producing more and better food all year.

Prominent examples of Plasticulture’s high efficiency to use natural resources in a sustainable manner include: greenhouse covers which keep uniform temperature and humidity for continued food production; mulch films and irrigation pipes which reduce water consumption; and silage films which store livestock food in a cost-effective way.

At K 2019, BASF expanded its NOR® technology to help farmers continuously produce in a sustainable way.

"The development of Tinuvin® NOR® 356 is the result of BASF’s extensive competency in light and thermal stabilization combined with our deep knowledge of agricultural market requirements," said Volker Bach, head of BASF’s Global Competence Center Plastics Additives, BASF. "Our organic farming customers can benefit from higher yields produced in a sustainable way."

Tinuvin® NOR® 356 protects and extends the lifetime of agricultural films that are exposed to very high levels of UV radiation, heat and crop treatments such as elemental sulfur, and the compounds approved in certified organic farming to prevent plants diseases and fertilize the soil.

“The global agriculture is moving towards biological farming, which can be expected to further grow at a double digit number,” said Volker Bach, “especially at the background of recycling, this requires the films have to be in a good shape for collecting at the end of its life. It ends up in a trend that farmers want the green house or the films to be used be for a longer time period, extending it from one to two, or from two to three or even longer years. And BASF offers the plastic additives solutions that can help to overcome the degradation of agriculture plastics.

Strong commitment to the agriculture industry

When added to the polymer, the Tinuvin® NOR® light stabilizers neutralize the complex chain reactions and disrupt the reaction cascade. This protects the agricultural films, in particular greenhouse covers, and extends their durability. Standard light stabilization solutions are not effective under these challenging conditions due to their limited resistance to agrochemicals, elemental sulfur and disinfection products.

The improved film protection and lifetime extension under NOR®-stabilized greenhouse covers increase productivity, improve crop quality and reduce plastic waste for farmers which makes them more competitive.

To serve the increasing demand for organic farming, BASF has continued to invest in the NOR® technology by creating this new generation NOR® and expanding production capacity.

In addition to the increased NOR capacity, BASF continues to invest at all key light stabilizers production sites in Pontecchio Marconi (Italy), Lampertheim (Germany), McIntosh (USA) and Puebla (Mexico).

Sustainability driving product development

In BASF’s Global Competence Center Plastics Additives, Volker and his team keep anticipating the situation of end-user markets and offer new chemistry solutions to support customers’ needs.

For example, in building construction applications, BASF offers solutions to avoid the waste of production and improve the efficiency in the processing of PVC. “PVC still has a very big and strong market in the building construction area. It can help to make the windows lasting for a longer time.”said Volker.

While in the automotive industry, as the industry is moving towards  electrical cars, the polyamide car parts have to withstand higher temperature and requires more conductivity. “Plastics additives can enable those car parts to be stable with plastics.” said Volker.

Volker believes that sustainability may provide challenges for product development, “But if you turn it into opportunity, you can make good use of different points to create new business. The sustainability is a driver for product development.”


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