UK chemicals giant Ineos announced Tuesday it is building a factory in Middlesbrough in the North of England dedicated to making hand sanitizer, with the goal of having the facility ready within 10 days. A second-hand sanitizer factory is planned for similarly rapid construction in Germany.
The privately-owned multinational, founded by Britain’s richest man Sir Jim Ratcliffe, said it would supply hospitals, schools, places of work, pharmacies and supermarkets to fight coronavirus.
“Ineos is a company with enormous resources and manufacturing skills,” said Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the billionaire founder and chair of Ineos. “If we can find other ways to help in the coronavirus battle, we are absolutely committed to playing our part.”
Ineos is Europe’s largest producer of isopropyl alcohol and ethanol two of the key ingredients required to manufacture hand sanitizer but realized all hand sanitizer producers were all running at full capacity.
“We figured that we’d already pushed as much of our product as possible into these uses but there’s a limit on the capacity to produce the gel,” Tom Crotty, a director at Ineos, told The Guardian. “Switching the lines would cost about £2m in the short term, but the company had not yet assessed the potential size of the longer-term market, given the urgent need,” he added.
Photo: via Ineos