Cepsa starts a new linear alkylbenzene production process – Chemical Engineering


By Mary Page Bailey |

Compañía Española de Petróleos SAU (Cepsa; Madrid, Spain) stepped up its commitment to innovation, safety and sustainability by launching the operations of the first European chemical plant to use Detal technology in San Roque (Cadiz). It is also the first linear alkylbenzene (LAB) plant in the world to replace hydrofluoric acid (HF) technology with Detal technology, a safer, more efficient and sustainable process that optimizes the efficient use of materials. raw materials and electricity and reduces emissions and waste generation. (1,100 tonnes per year).


Cepsa announced the launch of the world’s first chemical plant to develop the technology for the production of biodegradable detergent raw materials (Source: Cepsa)

In addition, this technological improvement will reduce water consumption by 80,000 m3 per year and improve the quality and versatility of linear alkylbenzene (LAB), the raw material used in the plant for the production of biodegradable detergents.

After nearly two years of development, the technology has been successfully applied and the transformation of the factory completed, making it a global pioneer. The application of this technology, the patent of which was developed by Cepsa in collaboration with UOP (Universal Oil Products), has led to the creation of 250 jobs in the Campo de Gibraltar, reaching 600 in certain phases of the process, with more than 800,000 hours invested in engineering and construction and supporting some fifty ancillary businesses, mostly from the province. In addition, 700 tonnes of steel, 3,180 m3 of concrete, 40 km of piping and 60 km of wiring were used. Since 2019, the Puente Mayorga chemical plant has been using 100% renewable electrical energy supplied by Cepsa’s Gas and Electricity activity.

An investment of 117 million euros in this technological improvement will allow Cepsa to increase the plant’s production and meet the growing demand for biodegradable detergents. With this development, Cepsa will consolidate its position as a world leader in the manufacture of LAB, also improving its offer in African markets where demand is expected to increase in the coming years.

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