Date Published: 25 March 2020
Middlesbrough hand sanitiser plant to be built in 10 days to produce 1 million bottles per month
Following recent advice1 from governments and health organizations urging people wash their hands using soap or otherwise ensure that their hands are sufficiently clean, a critical shortage of hand sanitisers across has been reported across Europe. Many UK supermarkets and high street shops that usually sell handsanitisers of the type and size often carried in pockets and handbags do not have stock at the moment.
News that INEOS has announced plans to build a hand sanitiser plant near Middlesbrough (North Yorkshire, England) within the next 10 days with expectation of then producing 1 million bottles of hand sanitiser per month is welcome.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of INEOS said2:
" It is becoming increasingly clear that hand to mouth infection is a significant cause of Corona virus contagion and INEOS is Europe's largest manufacturer of the core ingredient of hand sanitiser. We will build two factories in the UK and Germany in 10 days to produce very substantial supplies." 24 March 2020
INEOS is Europe's largest producer of the two key raw materials needed for hospital grade hand sanitiser, isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol [more info on our chemistry pages], at its sites in Grangemouth, Scotland and in northern Germany. The company is operating these existing plants at maximum capacity and will build two new factories to make hand sanitiser. INEOS stated2 that it intends to produce both standard and the increasingly popular "pocket bottle" hand sanitisers and that supplies to NHS hospitals will be free of charge for the period of the present coronavirus crisis, with the public being able to purchase bottles from retailers.
These hand sanitisers will be produced according to World Health Organisation specifications and be specifically designed to kill bacteria and viruses.
In its statement announcing plans for the new plant in Middlesborough, INEOS emphasized that it takes its corporate and social responsibilities extremely seriously. The company produces various items considered essential to the production of healthcare products, such as rubber gloves, PVC saline drips, syringes, ventilators and medical tubing. It also produces chemicals to purify drinking water and chemicals for use in the manufacture of soap and acetone [a ketone] for aspirin and paracetamol [more aspirin the news] .
Sir Jim Ratcliffe, added that2:
" INEOS is a company with enormous resources and manufacturing skills. If we can find other ways to help in the Coronavirus battle, we are absolutely committed to playing our part."