Repsol is mulling investment at its Puertollano site in Spain to increase the production capacity of ethylene vinyl acetate copolymers (EVA). During H2-2011, the investment outlay will be towards a new production unit with capacity to produce 15,000 tpa of EVA, with the possibility to achieve vinyl acetate (VA) contents exceeding 35%, as per Packaging Europe.
In 2009, Repsol carried out the conversion of one of its EVA copolymer units (including 5% to 20% of VA content) to EVA resins (ranging from 20% to 40% of VA content). Additionally, in June 2010 Repsol implemented process changes in another of its EVA copolymer units, to adapt it to the quality demands of the specialized film converters. Because of this change and process improvement, Repsol has been able to reduce significantly the potential off-spec production associated to this type of film grade production.
In 2010, Repsol consolidated ethylene butyl acrylate copolymers’ (EBA) production capacity at its Sines site in Portugal, increasing the production of EBA copolymers as an alternative to the EVA copolymers’ production at Puertollano, due to the growing specialization of the former towards the production of EVA resins.
There is a growing demand for these copolymers on account of the new emerging applications in segments such as the photovoltaic panels. Repsol produces EVA and EBA copolymers and resins with comonomer contents that may range from 5% to 40%, and melt flow indexes (MFI) exceeding 800 dg/min.