- NextLab is the first linear alkylbenzene (LAB) to be both renewable and biodegradable, as an alternative to the traditional fossil LAB. LAB is the raw material of LAS, a surfactant used widely for cleaning and laundry products.
- Unilever is the world’s first user of NextLab from renewable sources in cleaning and laundry products
- Both Cepsa Química and Unilever will continue to collaborate in exploring and incorporating sustainable solutions to their brands
Cepsa Química has supplied consumer goods leader Unilever with NextLab, a new range of sustainable products which include renewable and recycled raw materials. This sets a new milestone for circular chemistry, as NextLab is made using “green carbon” derived from biomass instead of the fossil fuels the industry has employed until now to make cleaning and laundry products.
Cepsa Química uses a Mass Balance approach to create NextLab. Through Mass Balance, traditional black carbon sources are blended and co-processed with those from plant-based sources, known as green carbon. So, thanks to the Mass Balance approach, we can guarantee how many sustainable sources are used in the process.
This way of manufacturing is not only the most viable, short-term alternative to purely fossil-carbon derived products, but it also constitutes a vital steppingstone in the shift from petrochemical to renewable feedstocks.
Unilever is the worlds’ first user of NextLab, which incorporates biomass of certified origin, resulting in an LAB identical in properties and performance to traditional one. The company will use NextLab to make Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS), the world's largest-volume synthetic surfactant and its key raw material for brands such as Persil, Cif and Sunlight.
Surfactants are crucial in the making of cleaning products. However, all LAS surfactant is made nowadays from black carbon and fossil fuels. Using a LAB made from renewable biomass to produce LAS is not only a more sustainable way to produce this raw material but also helps lower the carbon footprint of the final products.
The path to a circular chemistry
As of today, 85% of the overall carbon demand in chemical and derived materials sector is still met using fossil fuels. By offering renewable and recycled alternatives, Cepsa Química is setting the path to a circular chemistry industry while directly impacting on the planet, both in its own production process and in that of its buyers.
Unilever’s Home Care business announced last year that it will source 100% of the carbon derived from black sources in its cleaning and laundry formulations with renewable or recycled carbon – a strategy illustrated in its Carbon Rainbow model.
With the chemicals used in Unilever’s cleaning and laundry products making up the greatest proportion of their carbon footprint (46%) across their lifecycle, pioneering the use of innovative new chemicals made with renewable feedstocks will enable the company to unlock new ways of reducing the carbon footprint of its products. As an upstream innovation, inclusion of NextLab within formulations will result in no change to the performance of the products that consumers know and trust.
With NextLab, Cepsa Química reinforces its commitment to go along with its customers in the development of increasingly sustainable and environmentally friendly products.