Sorbents and Jet Fuel - related?
Polypropylene sorbents are a big part of our business, with most of our customers using them at some point. But some of us didn't even know how they were made, let alone what they we're made from! Read on for some quick facts and to learn about an interesting phenomenon that has occured as a result of the steep decline in air travel!
How are polypropylene sorbents made?
Well, to take it right back to the beginning, crude oil processing creates a number of products, including gasoline, kerosene (a main ingredient in jet fuel), and naptha. Naptha is broken down further into ethylene and propylene, which is the product used to create polypropylene. Granules of polypropylene are melted and blown onto a moving belt to create a mat of material. This is then dimpled or cut straight into pads, mats or rolls. This material can also be shredded and put into sorbent pillows and booms.
So what's the link with air travel?
Because there is less air travel, there is less jet fuel production and consequently a shortage of polypropylene on the market. And as a result of supply and demand, guess what goes up. If you guessed price, well done. If you didn't, hmm. Currently the price of polypropylene is sitting at it's highest value in 29 years. Quite crazy.
Another reason polypropylene has increased in price. Surgical masks are partially made from the same material as our sorbents! An American meltblown manufacturer stated that until last year, just 2 or 3% of his company's meltblown went into face masks. In 2020, it was 95%.
Will this mean our sorbent prices will rise?
Nobody is exempt from these price increases; we've had communication from our supplier in Europe that their costs have gone up with a corresponding price rise twice now. As a result, our prices will likely increase in the next little while, but we'll be sure to let you know beforehand.
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Thanks for reading, we hope you found this interesting!