Albemarle Process Development Center (PDC)

Baton Rouge, LA
Ethyl Plant workers listen to a fire prevention lecture, 1961


Opened in 1937 by the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation, the chemical plant was later acquired by Albemarle and is now called the Albemarle Process Development Center (PDC).  The plant originally produced the fuel additive tetraethyl lead (TEL).  Due to government regulations related to leaded gasoline as well as corporate reorganization over the years, the PDC now serves as a research and development location as well as a chemical manufacturing facility.

Address or general location

Gulf States Road

Baton Rouge LA 70805


The founding company of the plant, the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation, was a joint venture between General Motors and Standard Oil and was established in 1917.  The Baton Rouge plant was opened in 1937 and produced tetraethyl lead (TEL) which was used as a fuel additive to prevent car engines from knocking.  In the early 1940s, the Ethyl Gasoline Corporation changed its name to Ethyl Corporation.

In a notable, corporate move, Albemarle purchased the Ethyl Corporation, a company five times Albemarle’s size, in 1962.  As the environmental and public health effects of leaded gasoline began to surface in the scientific and medical communities during the 1960s, the chemical plant’s production lines had to adapt to the eventual elimination of leaded gas.  The plant then began producing olefins and derivatives, bromine chemicals, and specialty chemicals.  In addition to chemical manufacturing, the plant currently serves as Albemarle’s largest, U.S.-based research and development location.