Press release

Cepsa wins award for artificial intelligence project to optimize chemical processes

04 Apr 2019

    • The company received the Iberquimia award for 'The plant of the future', for its digital transformation project at the Palos Chemical Plant in Huelva
    • Cepsa is extending this project to its other industrial facilities
    • The awards recognize the innovative work of companies and the best digitization processes in the chemicals sector

Cepsa has received the Iberquimia award for 'The plant of the future' for its YET (Yield, Energy and Throughput) project at its Palos Chemical Plant in Huelva. The awards panel said the industrial facility best integrates the concept of plant digitization and real-time control, in turn achieving significant quality, safety, and environmental improvements.

The YET project, the first digital transformation initiative at the company's Chemicals business, utilizes artificial intelligence and industry-specific 4.0 technologies, such as machine learning, big data and advanced analytics, to production processes, with the aim of improving energy efficiency and process performance.

The project involved the development and implementation of two real-time optimizers in the phenol production process. Through the application of machine learning techniques and predictive models, these optimizers offer recommendations every 15 minutes to the plant control technicians in order to optimize production. This has increased the output of a phenol intermediate product by 2.5%, and raised phenol production by over 5,500 tons a year. This will help Cepsa to continue as the world's second largest producer of this raw material thanks to production at its plants in Palos de la Frontera and Shanghai, China.

Following the positive results of this first YET project, the company is currently working to extend it to the other units at the plant as well as at its chemical plants in San Roque, Salvador de Bahia, Brazil and Shanghai, and at its refineries in Palos de la Frontera and San Roque.

Cepsa is immersed in a broad digital transformation process across each of its business units. Optimization of production processes through the use of artificial intelligence helps to make better decisions along the value chain, and in turn increase production and reduce energy costs.

Speaking at the presentation of the awards at the Fourth Congress of the Chemical Industry, Joaquín Abril-Martorell, Director of Digital Transformation at Cepsa, said: “We are leaders in the chemicals sector internationally and this recognition also positions us as leaders in the digitization of the sector. Through projects like this we are bringing advanced analytics to industry to help us make better decisions, and become more agile and efficient every day.”

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Alberto Martín Martín, Process Engineer at Cepsa Chemicals in Huelva, with Joaquín Abril-Martorell, Director of Digital Transformation at Cepsa
  • Alberto Martín Martín, Process Engineer at Cepsa Chemicals in Huelva, with Joaquín Abril-Martorell, Director of Digital Transformation at Cepsa