Chemical manufacturer INEOS has established a UK hand sanitiser factory able able to produce 1 million bottles of the essential product per month.
The new plant – based at the firm’s Newton Aycliffe site near Middlesbrough – is running three shifts around the clock in a bid to help address the critically short supply of hand sanitiser – a key tool in efforts to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The firm says it has already begun distributing free bottles to the NHS, and that it is also making “pocket bottle” sanitisers that will sold in shops for personal use. These will be produced to World Health Organisation specifications.
“I believe these hand sanitisers will play a key role in the fight against the Corona virus and will help protect our NHS front line staff who deserve all the help we can give them,” said Sir Jim Ratcliffe, founder and chairman of INEOS, “I am confident that within a few days our sanitiser will start to be seen in hospitals, surgeries and people’s homes”.
INEOS is the leading European producer of the two key raw materials needed for sanitisers – isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and ethanol – producing almost 1 million tonnes. The company is already running these plants flat out and has been diverting more of this product to essential medical use including in the new facilities.
A German sister plant is also in production and plans are being drawn up for a third plant in France.
The 160 acre Newton Aycliffe site is typically used to produce PVC and PVC compounds that are used widely in window products.