Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Location, infrastructure and middle classes were keys to development of chemical industry in Bizkaia

Date:
August 5, 2010
Source:
Basque Research
Summary:
The foundation of the La Dinamita factory (Galdakao, 1872) was a watershed in the chemical industry in Bizkaia (the Basque province centred around Bilbao). Basing itself on the patent obtained by Alfred Nobel five years previously, it became the fifth most important dynamite factory in the world and started one of the most fruitful sectors of the XX century in the region. With this as a starting point, Mr Luis Ángel García studied how and why the chemical industry developed in Bizkaia, its decline due to various reasons and its possible future.

Drawing of a chemical industry factory.
Credit: Luis Ángel García Castresana.

The foundation of the La Dinamita factory (Galdakao, 1872) was a watershed in the chemical industry in Bizkaia (the Basque province centred around Bilbao). Basing itself on the patent obtained by Alfred Nobel five years previously, it became the fifth most important dynamite factory in the world and started one of the most fruitful sectors of the XX century in the region.

Related Articles


With this as a starting point, Mr Luis Ángel García studied how and why the chemical industry developed in Bizkaia, its decline due to various reasons and its possible future. His PhD, defended at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), is entitled History of the introduction and development of the Chemical Industry in Bizkaia.

The thesis takes on the history of the chemical industry from a technological and business perspective. Mr García individualised the research, focusing on 13 Bizkaian chemical companies and based his PhD mainly on interviews with their workers.

An industry that arrived later

He explains that the appearance of the Bizkaian chemical sector came later than other industries, there being high investment costs involved and because financing was difficult to come by, due to the poor internal demand for chemical products at the beginning of industrialisation. In fact, it can be concluded that most of the chemical factories studied for this PhD were founded at a later date, due to the demand for chemical products by other, already established, productive sectors.

Mr García points out that the strategic location of Bizkaia and its logistic and transport infrastructure were decisive for the installation of the chemical industry in the province, together with business activity by the Bilbao bourgeoisie. They sent delegates to Paris to convince Nobel to cede his patent in order to create the La Dinamita factory, as well as French investors, who were attracted by the commercial possibilities of the port of Bilbao and the railway network which communicated with the rest of the Spanish State. In fact, as with other enterprises a posteriori (Maderas & Alquitranes, Metalquímica del Nervión, and so on), La Dinamita benefited from its location close to the iron ore and coal mines for its production, and from the infrastructure for covering demand outside of the province of Bizkaia.

Rise in the 60s, drop in the 70s

As regards the Bizkaian chemical sector in the XX century, in the 60s there was an important phase of expansion, led by the plastics, synthetic fibres and fertiliser sectors and, at a state-wide level, also by the cosmetics and detergents sector. The crisis of the 70s, however, particularly affected the Bizkaian chemical sector (with factory closures and takeovers by multinationals), initiating a decline which, aggravated by the social response to environmental contamination and industrial delocating, has continued until today. According to the thesis, in 1959 there were 11 Bizkaian chemical companies amongst the top 50 in Spain, five in 1973 and just one in 1997 (UEE, with head office in Madrid). It also points to the current crisis affecting the Bizkaian chemical industry, due to the downturn in the automobile and construction sectors and the bottom falling out of the car sales market.

Recycling companies -- the future

As positive points, the thesis holds that this industry has a high degree of atomisation in Bizkaia; they are small enterprises but highly diversified as regards specialisation, facilitating the search for their own market quota. It should also be remembered that the Bizkaian chemical industry has cut greenhouse effect gas emissions by 20 % and energy consumption over the past two decades.

With the future in mind, Mr García points to recycling companies (plastics, tyres, and so on) as heirs to that leadership of the Bizkaian chemical industry in the XXI century. He makes special mention of the mechanical biological treatment plant that is expected to be inaugurated in 2012, as well as a future composting plant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Basque Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Basque Research. "Location, infrastructure and middle classes were keys to development of chemical industry in Bizkaia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805103922.htm>.
Basque Research. (2010, August 5). Location, infrastructure and middle classes were keys to development of chemical industry in Bizkaia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805103922.htm
Basque Research. "Location, infrastructure and middle classes were keys to development of chemical industry in Bizkaia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100805103922.htm (accessed March 26, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Amazon Complains U.S. Is Too Slow To Regulate Drones

Amazon Complains U.S. Is Too Slow To Regulate Drones

Newsy (Mar. 25, 2015) — Days after getting approval to test certain commercial drones, Amazon says the Federal Aviation Administration is dragging its feet on the matter. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) — European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Wants to Export Its Steel Problem

China Wants to Export Its Steel Problem

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) — China is facing a crisis with a glut of steel and growing public anger over the pollution created by production. In a move to solve the problem, some steel mills are looking to relocate overseas. Jane Lanhee Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Stays on Its Feet Despite Punishment

Robot Stays on Its Feet Despite Punishment

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 24, 2015) — Robotic engineers have modelled a two-legged robot to be fast and agile like an ostrich. The design is more efficient and stable than bipedal robots built to move like humans, according to its creators who abuse the poor machine to test its skills. Ben Gruber has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins