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ExxonMobil boosts production of raw materials for PPE and sanitizers

| By Mary Bailey

ExxonMobil (Irving, Tex.; has increased production of critical raw materials for personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and gowns, and hand sanitizer used by medical professionals and first responders leading the efforts to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic. ExxonMobil is among many companies applying their manufacturing capabilities to the fight against COVID-19, including BASF, PPG, Johnson Matthey, Lanxess and many more.

The company has increased its capability to manufacture specialized polypropylene, used in medical masks and gowns, by about 1,000 metric tons (m.t.) per month, which is enough to enable production of up to 200 million medical masks or 20 million gowns.

Monthly production of isopropyl alcohol – a key ingredient in many disinfectant and hand sanitizer products – has been increased by 3,000 tm.t., which is enough to enable production of up to 50 million 4-ounce bottles of medical-grade hand sanitizer.

“We’re increasing our manufacturing capabilities to meet this critical need to help keep doctors, nurses and first responders healthy and safe,” said Karen McKee, president of ExxonMobil Chemical Company. “Our team has been working around the clock, applying our engineering and technical know-how and working with our customers to make this happen. We’re committed to doing our part to support the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The additional polypropylene will be made at sites in Baytown, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Singapore and help meet high demand for other critical hygiene and health care items. Production of isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is being maximized at the company’s site in Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, the company is supporting development of innovative new products to help in the pandemic response. Working with the Global Center for Medical Innovation, ExxonMobil earlier this month announced multi-sector and joint-development projects to rapidly redesign and manufacture reusable personal protection equipment, such as face shields and masks, for health care workers.