Cepsa's Detal Technology Project Named Finalist at the European Business Awards for the Environment

05 May 2020

    • The Puente Mayorga Chemical Plant's project is one of 25 projects recognized by the Ministry of Ecological Transition from among the 115 candidates in Spain.
    • Cepsa's technology has been selected to represent Spain in the European edition of the Awards, along with 11 other projects
    • Cepsa has invested 100 million euro in this project, aimed at technological innovation and reducing is ecological footprint
    • It is the world's first linear alkylbenzene (LAB) factory to replace a hydrofluoric acid-based (HF) technology with Detal, a more efficient and sustainable process

Cepsa's Detal technology, which is currently being installed in the Puente Mayorga Chemical Plant in San Roque (Cádiz), has been recognized by the Ministry of Ecological Transition (MITECO) in the Spanish business category of the European Business Awards for the Environment, which are organized in collaboration with the Biodiversity Foundation and the European Union (EU). 

Out of 115 candidates, a total of 25 business projects have been recognized as the winners and runners-up of the awards. In addition, 12 of them, including Cepsa's Detal technology, will represent Spain at the European Business Awards for the Environment where they will compete against initiatives chosen from other EU countries, with the award ceremony scheduled for this December. 

The winner in the Process category, with a technology designed and developed by Cepsa in collaboration with UOP (Universal Oil Products), will improve the quality and variety of LAB, the base of most biodegradable detergents. It will also increase the safety of the processes and the energy efficiency of the industrial center, which will drastically reduce its emissions as it will consume less natural gas and electricity. This is a circular economy project that will greatly reduce the amount of waste generated. In short, it is an example of innovation and sustainability, standing out as the world's first hydrofluoric acid unit to convert to Detal technology. 

Cepsa has invested 100 million euro in this project aimed at technological innovation and reducing is ecological footprint. In addition to the construction of the unit, this endeavor involves the creation of about 250 jobs in Campo de Gibraltar and up to 600 jobs at certain times. It also entails increasing production to 250,000 tons, thereby helping Cepsa, from Andalusia, maintain its position as global leader, with a 17% market share. The project's excellence has also earned it the 2019 Andalusia Industry Development Award from the College of Industrial Engineers of Western Andalusia, at its fifth edition of the ceremony.

The plant's upgrade and optimization will ensure its continuity, and the project is expected to be completed in 2020, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the current plant, which marked the start of Cepsa's LAB business. Director of the Chemicals area, José Manuel Martínez, remarks, "The fact that such relevant institutions recognize us is motivation to continue driving R&D to offer the chemicals that the world needs. Our experience and leadership have also now lead us to become the first to install Detal technology in a plant built for hydrofluoric acid. We are certain that this upgrade will make the plant more competitive, in addition to increasing our capacity to meet the growing demand for surfactants."

Cepsa and Petrochemicals

The Puente Mayorga chemical plant was inaugurated in 1969, producing LAB. The Puente Mayorga plant is fully integrated with the Gibraltar–San Roque refinery, from which it receives the raw materials used in its process. It also manufactures paraffin, which in turn is the basis for LAB, for Cepsa plants not only in San Roque, but also in Brazil and Canada. Cepsa, thanks to these three industrial centers, is the world leader in the sector.

The chemical plant in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva) opened in 1976 to produce and sell methylamine and its derivatives (dimethylformamide and dimethylacetamide). In 1978, it began to manufacture basic petrochemicals such as cumene, phenol and acetone and, finally, in 1997, alpha-Methylstyrene. The products manufactured in Palos serve as raw materials for protective screens used in public buildings, thermometers, insulation, and active drug ingredients, among others. 

Adding to its chemical plants in Canada and Brazil, Cepsa entered China in 2015 and became the world's leading producer of cumene and the second largest producer of phenol and acetone. All of this has strengthened the Company's position as an international leader in the chemical sector. Since 2015, Cepsa has been producing vegetable-based alcohols at its plant in Germany and since 2017 at its plant in Indonesia.

The head of the Cepsa Chemical area about the Detal Project (audio)
The head of the Cepsa Chemical area about the Detal Project (video)

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Cepsa presents its unique LAB plant