CORONAVIRUS
Chemicals and plastics producers help with hand sanitiser supply / Ineos building new plants for ethanol and isopropanol / North Sea Forties pipeline planned shutdown delayed
Olefins and polyolefins giant Ineos (Rolle / Switzerland; www.ineos.com) announced that it will set up two European plants to produce hand sanitiser, near Middlesbrough in the UK and in Herne / Germany. The aim is to produce 1m bottles per month at each site to address a critical shortage across Europe. Ineos produces the two raw materials for hand sanitisers, isopropanol and ethanol, at Grangemouth / UK as well as Herne and Moers in Germany, and said it will supply the disinfectants to hospitals for free. Additionally, schools, places of work, pharmacies and supermarkets will be delivered.

Ineos, which claims to be the leading European supplier of isopropanol and ethanol, said it is diverting larger volumes to essential medical use. At Grangemouth, ethanol capacity of 330,000 t/y is to be increased to meet the demand. In Germany, Ineos’ isopropanol production capacities total 155,000 t/y at Moers and 85,000 t/y at Herne.

Supplies of both ethanol and isopropanol have been extremely tight in Europe in past weeks as demand for hand sanitisers has surged globally due to the Covid-19 virus. The German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI, Frankfurt; www.vci.de) said on 22 March 2020 that some of its member companies with appropriate portfolios are supporting hospital pharmacies with initially 700,000 t/y of ethanol, 35,000 t/y of hydrogen peroxide and 12,000 l of glycerin to make hand sanitiser.

Separately, Ineos FPS, operator of the North Sea Forties Pipeline System (FPS), which supplies chemical feedstocks for plastics to UK production sites, said it has responded to requests from customers and delayed its planned summer shutdown, originally planned for mid-June, to August. Ineos said it is “mindful of the benefits of completing this project work to the future operation of FPS and the risks of not going ahead.” However, it “recognises the importance of maintaining a flow of oil and gas through FPS during the current situation.”

On 17 March, BASF (Ludwigshafen / Germany; www.basf.com) said it had agreed to provide raw materials for sanitisers to the government of Rhineland-Palatine, its headquarters state. Uwe Liebelt, president of the group’s European Site & Verbund Management and site manager Ludwigshafen, said BASF produces some of the chemicals at Ludwigshafen and buys others for internal use. He added that the group has now reallocated “several” tonnes, in particular of isopropanol, to the production of hand sanitisers and also created the prerequisites to produce disinfectants at Ludwigshafen. According to local media, BASF also sees its Schwarzheide site as able to produce disinfection materials, and it will examine this possibility over the next few days.

In Hungary, lubricants producer MOL Lub, a subsidiary of Hungarian energy and chemicals group MOL (Budapest; www.molgroup.info) said it has shifted production of a windshield washer production line at its Almásfüzitő plant to producing a daily volume of around 50,000 litres of hand and surface sanitisers. Both types of disinfectant products have been in short supply in Hungary since the virus outbreak.
27.03.2020 Plasteurope.com [244807-0]
Published on 27.03.2020
Covid-19: Kunststofferzeuger bauen Produktion für Desinfektionsmittel aufGerman version of this article...

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