Plants: Repsol to build UMWHPE plant in Spain; Lactips to set up green plastic facility in France

Repsol to build UMWHPE plant in Spain

Materials firm Repsol has signed a technology license agreement that would allow the company to construct an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) plant at is location in Puertollano (Spain), with a production capacity of 15 kilotonnes/year. The agreement boosts up Repsol's ambition to become a future producer of UHMWPE with robust and well-proven technology.

Signing this agreement enables Repsol to begin the project's conceptual engineering phase aiming to reach the final investment decision in 2022.

UHMWPE is a highly differentiated material with high toughness, superior to that of steel, high impact resistance, and a self-lubricating capacity.

Numerous applications and multiple sectors use this type of material. The automotive industry uses it to manufacture battery separators for electric vehicles; in construction, for the manufacturing of high hardness plates; it can be used for medical applications, prostheses and medical implants or filters for dialysis, or even in aviation and other industrial sectors.

Lactips to set up green plastic facility in France

Meanwhile, Lactips, the French company launched in 2018 to specialise in producing a soluble plastic with zero environmental trace, is building its new plant in Saint-Paul-en-Jarez (42), in the Gier Valley.

The industrial regeneration programme, will require nearly EUR30 million to be invested over several years. These investments, particularly in the production facilities, made possible by the recent round of fundraising with the SPI fund, managed by Bpifrance, and Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation (MCHC), through Diamond Edge Ventures, entering the capital, will enable Lactips to accelerate the commercial development of its innovative technology.

From its launch, planned for 2021, this new plant will be able to produce 3,000 tonnes/year (compared with 1,500 currently), while ultimately targeting 10,000 tonnes/year. Lactips will be able to gradually install up to six production lines and develop its range of solutions for the sustainable soluble packaging and single-use plastic markets, while also ensuring compliance with the specific standards for food packaging. Alongside the administrative and sales offices, the R&D teams will benefit from a laboratory and new equipment, as well as a dedicated development and testing line.

The new site, located in Saint-Paul-en-Jarez, a former coal-production region, will bring back to life a former regional food processing plant, which was shut down in 2018, while adding an extension.

Lactips’ new 12,000 sq m site will include a 2,500 sq m production building and 1,000 sq.m administrative building, with a total floor space of 4,200 sq m. The new premises, acquired as part of a EUR6 million real estate project through the creation of a dedicated SCI property investment company (Lactips, NOVIM and BPI Investissements), will house various teams focused on developing Lactips’ activities.

At the heart of the Gier Valley, the future plant will make it possible to bring back to life France Crème’s former whipped cream production unit, closed in 2018 by a foreign industrial firm, and to capitalise on the existing assets and local resources.

Moving forward, this new industrial site will require around 30 additional staff with diverse profiles to support the development of the first plastic with zero environmental impact.

“Lactips was founded with a view to proposing a new way of looking at plastic production, with respect for the environment, providing a solution that is aligned with the needs of both industrial firms and consumers. The steps that we have successfully taken since 2014 have led us to this major industrial turning point. Through our project to create this plant, we are establishing our natural plastic production, based on milk proteins, at a former whipped cream production site. This loop, which is closing, will give us the capabilities needed to develop our solutions for the food packaging market, and will enable us to support regional employment by creating green jobs. Once again, Lactips has united stakeholders from all sides around this program,” adds Marie-Hélène Gramatikoff, Lactips CEO/Co-founder.


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