BASF broke ground Tuesday on a formic acid plant at its Geismar operations, the third phase in a $300 million expansion of the facilities.

Louisiana Economic Development officials say the formic acid plant will cost $138 million to build and will create 20 new direct jobs and 91 indirect jobs. The plant, set to open in mid-2014, will produce 50,000 tons of formic acid a year. Formic acid, which is biodegradable, is used in preserving animal feed, de-icing roads and in household cleaners. This will be the only plant of its kind in North America.

About 250 temporary construction jobs will be created because of the expansion.

Last year, BASF opened a methylamines plant in Geismar that created 11 new jobs. Production will start next year at a surfactants plant that will hire 45 people.