Cepsa Completes Successful Production Trial of Recycled Plastic Pyrolysis Oil

Nov. 28, 2023
Phenol produced from recycled plastic has numerous applications, such as wind turbines, solar panels and other high-tech products.

Cepsa advanced its transition from fossil fuel-derived raw materials to sustainable alternatives by successfully initiating the production of recycled plastic pyrolysis oil in Spain.

The company said on Nov. 22 that its chemicals division, Cepsa Química, completed a trial at its La Rábida Energy Park (Huelva) facilities. The company is converting discharged single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, into circular phenol and acetone. 

The pilot involved the recycling of 300 tons of plastic waste. The process involved heating the plastic to 500°C in a reactor without oxygen and then cooling the material. The phenol and acetone are used as raw materials to produce wind turbines, solar panels and various other high-tech products.

This operation involved months of research and multiple test phases. 

The effort is part of Cepsa’s ongoing sustainability strategy to increasing the share of renewable and circular raw materials in its energy parks to 15% by 2030. This will involve using 2.8 million tons of bio-based raw materials in the current decade, of which 75% will be second-generation and other waste.

The plastic co-processing operation opens opportunities to supply sustainable acetone to the company’s new isopropanol plant in Huleva, which will become operational in 2025, said Esther González, director of the Palos chemical plant.

The company has also committed to increasing the circularity of waste from its operations by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2019), which will involve recycling and recovering 8,000 tons at its industrial centers in Andalusia, located in Cadiz and Huelva, Spain. Cepsa Química has received ISCC Plus certification for its circular phenol and acetone products as well as renewable and circular linear alkylbenzene. Arturo Castro Ramirez, the company’s product stewardship technician, described the company’s process for achieving ISCC Plus certification in a July Chemical Processing article

About the Author

Jonathan Katz | Executive Editor

Jonathan Katz, executive editor, brings nearly two decades of experience as a B2B journalist to Chemical Processing magazine. He has expertise on a wide range of industrial topics. Jon previously served as the managing editor for IndustryWeek magazine and, most recently, as a freelance writer specializing in content marketing for the manufacturing sector.

His knowledge areas include industrial safety, environmental compliance/sustainability, lean manufacturing/continuous improvement, Industry 4.0/automation and many other topics of interest to the Chemical Processing audience.

When he’s not working, Jon enjoys fishing, hiking and music, including a small but growing vinyl collection.

Jon resides in the Cleveland, Ohio, area.

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