Disinfectant hand gel saves lives

Because hand-mouth contact is one of the main ways to become infected, disinfecting your hands regularly can save your life in times of corona or other pandemics. Did you know that we are the largest producer of the most important raw materials for disinfectant hand gel? And during the corona crisis, we’re accelerating our efforts.

Flying for meters

When infected persons cough or sneeze, the coronavirus is transmitted through tiny airborne droplets. And they can fly for meters. So, keeping a distance is crucial. And disinfecting your hands too. Because the virus can thrive on any surface.

For example, if you touch a shopping cart and then your face, you run the risk of infection. Therefore, it’s very handy to have disinfectant gel with you when you’re running errands.

In corona times, disinfectant hand gel is more indispensable than ever in hospitals and other care institutions (such as residential care centers). Good hand hygiene is essential to avoid contaminating caregivers and non-corona patients.

Isopropanol and ethanol decompose viruses

Ethylene and propylene, the olefins that we will produce in Project ONE, are important raw materials for the basic ingredients of disinfectants.

Peggy Gerits, Business Development Manager at INEOS Phenol Phenol: “Propylene is an essential raw material for isopropanol: when you let propylene react with water and distil it further, you get purified isopropanol. Many soaps contain isopropanol as well. Ethylene, on the other hand, is a raw material for the disinfectant ethanol.

“Because cells from bacteria, fungi and viruses decompose when they come into contact with isopropanol or ethanol, isopropanol and ethanol are suitable as antiseptics for both surfaces and hands.”

1 million bottles of hand gel per month

In Grangemouth in Scotland, Herne in Northern Germany, and Lavéra in Southern France, we produce 1 million tons of isopropyl alcohol and ethanol each year. This makes us the largest producer of raw materials for disinfectant hand gel in Europe.

Since the corona crisis, there has been a shortage of disinfectant hand gel. To ramp up supply, we built plants – in 10 days’ time – in the United Kingdom, Germany and Northern and Southern France that produce 1 million bottles of hand gel per month.

In these new plants, we’re making an ethanol-based hand gel according to the World Health Organization’s specifications. During the crisis, part of our production is going to hospitals in the United Kingdom, Germany and France free of charge.

The INEOS cycling team provides free hand gel in Antwerp

In Belgium, care institutions with the greatest shortages – such as residential care centers and home care organizations – are being supplied free of charge from our production line in Etain (Northern France). In this way, we’re helping Belgium, where INEOS was born, to protect primary care personnel and vulnerable people.

In April, employees of TEAM INEOS – our cycling team, which won the Tour de France last year – delivered the first hand gels to the Gitschotelhof residential care center in Deurne (Antwerp).

More protection against corona

Other applications based on our chemical products are also indispensable in preventing the spread of viruses. Acrylonitrile-based gloves, for example. Or surgical masks (largely made of polypropylene).

And that brings us back to propylene. And Project ONE.

“During the corona crisis, our cycling team, TEAM INEOS, is delivering free hand gel to residential care centers in Antwerp.”

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