Over half the rubber used worldwide is synthetic. The main raw ingredients of synthetic rubber, developed to protect natural rubber sources, are styrene and butadiene, and it is used for a wide range of products, such as shoes, break and clutch pedals, toys, and medical products such as surgical gloves.
Demand for synthetic rubber has shot up in the Chinese market in recent years. China now uses 25% of all synthetic rubber produced worldwide, and demand is growing at a rate of 7% a year. To satisfy that market, Dynasol, a subsidiary of Repsol, has entered into partnership with the Chinese company Xing'an, and has created a company to produce and distributed 100,000 tonnes of synthetic rubber a year in the Chinese market.
Dynasol will bring to the joint venture the technology and expertise needed to develop new products. The company spends 3.5 million euros a year on research into synthetic rubber, and has produced materials that have been approved by the US space agency NASA, to cite just one example.