Catalonia is the leading region in Spain for the chemical industry, boasting the highest number of companies, revenue, and job creation. As of 2022, it is home to 1,985 chemical companies, accounting for 25.7% of the total number in Spain. The region also employs 31.1% of the Spanish chemical industry's workforce and 12.7% of the Catalan industrial workforce. Furthermore, the chemical industry is the second-largest manufacturing sector in the Catalan economy, generating €21,596 billion in revenue in 2020, which makes up 36.8% of the total revenue for the entire Spanish sector.
The region has three chemical hubs - Barcelona, Tarragona, and Vallès - that make up 80% of the industry's companies, 87% of its revenue, and 81% of its jobs. These hubs accommodate companies at different levels of the value chain. Tarragona produces primary chemical products, petrochemicals, and polymers. Vallès specializes in chemical products, detergents, paints, and fertilizers. Barcelona has intermediate chemical production plants, cosmetics, personal hygiene, and pharmaceuticals and is the preferred location for sales offices and headquarters.
A center of chemical excellence
Located 100km south of Barcelona, in Tarragona, is ChemMed, a top chemical hub. It is home to over a hundred chemical companies of varying sizes, with state-of-the-art infrastructures and access to the Port of Tarragona. As a result, it provides a platform for importing and exporting chemical materials to the Mediterranean and North Africa. Furthermore, it serves as a hub for potential partners and suppliers in the chemical, energy, and resource industry. The hub also serves as a foundation for various technology and chemical research institutions, including the Catalan Chemical Research Institute (ICIQ) and the Chemical Technology Center (CTQC). It is also home to the Southern Catalonia Campus of International Excellence (CEICS) and the Rovira i Virgili University (URV), as well as several other vocational training centers.
A dynamic R&D ecosystem
Catalonia as a whole also has a solid base of well-known research groups that support technology transfer, as well as a comprehensive network of scientific and technological centers that form the basis of the region's research and innovation program. Some notable institutions include the Catalan Institute of Chemical Research (ICIQ), which conducts pioneering research on catalysis and renewable energies; the ALBA synchrotron, which is being transformed into a 4th generation synchrotron through the ALBA II project, the Biomedical Research Park, which is a leader in biomedical research in southern Europe, and the Institute of Photonic Sciences, recognized as one of the world’s leading research institutions. Additionally, we also find the Mare Nostrum (BSC), Southern Europe’s third-largest supercomputer.