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Repsol to build new plant for ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene

| By Mary Bailey

Repsol S.A. (Madrid, Spain) will invest 105 million euros in the Puertollano Industrial Complex to build the first plant in the Iberian Peninsula capable of manufacturing ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE), a material considered a ‘super polymer’ due to its exceptional properties. 

This new plant will be operational by the end of 2024 and will have a capacity of 15,000 metric tons per year (m.t./yr). For the construction of the plant, Repsol has selected the technology of Royal DSM N.V. (Herleen, the Netherlands). This involves the use of cutting-edge, proven technology that adapts to the needs of customers. 

UHMWPE is a material that, due to its exceptional hardness and strength characteristics, can replace steel in some applications and has high impact resistance, high toughness and self-lubricating capacity. 

Applications include highly differentiated products with high added value, such as lithium-ion battery separators, construction profiles, coatings, parts for personal and military protection and medical applications such as prostheses, implants or dialysis filters. Currently, the UHMWPE market is growing due to the extraordinary characteristics of this material, which combines excellent mechanical properties with high lightness. 

With this project Repsol will be one of the few companies in the world that manufactures this ‘super polymer’. This investment will promote direct, indirect and induced employment and represents a firm commitment to the industrial development of our country and a boost to the socioeconomic growth of the area. With the support of auxiliary companies, the construction and start-up of the plant will require some 700 professionals from different disciplines.