Libra Speciality Chemicals: News

Multi-Million Pound Investment in New Technology to Make Novel Low Salt Betaines to Replace Sulphates

Libra Speciality Chemicals are delighted to announce that we have cut ground on our latest multi-million-pound capital investment programme in Irlam, UK, continuing our commitment to the future of the UK chemical industry.

Following on from the construction of our industry-leading betaine plant in 2019, we are now:

  • Installing new technology to produce novel low salt betaines.
  • Expanding the betaine plant capacity from 32ktpa to 50ktpa to meet demand.

Low Salt Betaines

With the rapidly increasing shift away from sulphates, our customers are seeking to formulate handwash, body wash and hair care products with alternative surfactants that give better efficacy.

Sulphates, such as SLES, are increasingly suffering from negative press and increasing legislation concerned with residual levels of 1,4 dioxane, ethylene oxide and also sulphate. There are also other reasons why formulators want to move away from SLES – it is a skin sensitiser, it can cause the skin to become dry, it can strip out oils in the hair leaving it dry and damaged and it can affect dyed hair.

Betaines are well known for excellent detergency and foam boosting properties and do not suffer from the problems listed for SLES. However, standard betaines contain c6% salt, which causes major issues with viscosity control in formulations, limiting the inclusion levels to c2%.

Libra’s new technology will produce betaines with ultra-low salt levels, typically 0.5% salt (but can even be 0.05%), giving formulators great freedom to include betaines at 10 -12%, offering the opportunity to make fantastic new products for the coming years.

Capital Investment

This project will include:

  • An additional 40,000-litre reactor to make the betaine CAPA intermediate (cocamidopropylamine).
  • An additional 60,000-litre reactor to make the finished betaine products.
  • A new high-capacity tank farm, adding an additional 865,000 litres of storage for products, and weighbridge complex dedicated to our betaine plant.
  • A complex system of plant to desalt the betaines to produce an exciting new range of low salt betaines available for formulators.

For more information about Libra Speciality Chemicals and the products we offer, please get in touch with a member of our sales team.

Libra Speciality Chemicals Ltd

Tel: +44 161 775 1888




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