Repsol Builds Iberia’s First UHMWPE Plant

09.06.2022 - Repsol has announced plans to invest €105 million to build a plant for ultra-high molecular weight PE (UHMWPE) at its Puertollano complex in Spain. The company said the facility will be the first in Iberia for the “super polymer”.

The plant will have capacity of 15,000 t/y and is due to be operational by the end of 2024. It will be based on technology licensed from DSM.

According to Repsol, the market for UHMWPE is growing because of the polymer’s “extraordinary characteristics”. It has exceptional hardness and strength and can replace steel in some applications, along with high impact resistance and toughness, and capacity for self-lubrication. Applications include separators for lithium-ion batteries, construction profiles, coatings, components for personal and military protection, and medical devices such as prostheses, implants or dialysis filters.

In July, 2021, the Madrid-based group said it would build linear PE and PP plants at Sines, Portugal, using technologies that would make the facilities the first of their kind to be installed on the Iberian Peninsula. The plants, each producing 300,000 t/y, are due for startup in 2025. LyondellBasell is providing its Spherizone process for the PP unit, while Univation is supplying its Unipol technology for the PE plant.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist