Cepsa, in its commitment to the circular economy, has successfully completed the first operation in Spain for the co-processing of recycled plastic pyrolysis oil. This project, carried out at the La Rábida Energy Park in Huelva, enabled the production of raw material that the company then converted into circular phenol and acetone from discarded single-use plastics, such as plastic bags or plastic cutlery.
To carry out this first test, 300 tons of waste plastic were recycled, giving a second life to plastics that cannot be reused and that would have ended up in a landfill if they had not been chemically recycled. This plastic waste was used as an alternative raw material to petroleum after being subjected to a temperature of 500°C without oxygen in a reactor with subsequent cooling. As a result, these single-use plastics were converted into raw materials to produce wind turbines, solar panels, and technological products, among many other uses for phenol.
This innovative operation in Spain, the result of months of research and tests in different phases, is another step forward in Cepsa's commitment to the circular economy and the use of raw materials other than oil to produce sustainable solutions for mobility and the chemical industry.
Rafael Larraz, Cepsa's Research and Development director, expressed the company's satisfaction in achieving successful results in a test with these characteristics: "For over a year and a half, the coordination of the different teams involved has been essential for the success of this pioneering test, which has required the joint work of more than fifty professionals from up to eight different areas of the company. At Cepsa we will continue to invest in innovation with the aim of providing more sustainable and efficient solutions."
Jorge Acitores, director of La Rábida Energy Park, added: "We are proud to once again place Huelva at the forefront of industry. We will continue working at La Rábida Energy Park on this type of project, whereby we have succeeded in giving a second life to raw materials that were destined to be discarded, as part of Cepsa's commitment to the circular economy."
Esther González, director of the Palos Chemical Plant, said: “This innovative plastic co-processing operation also opens the possibility of supplying acetone of circular origin to the new Cepsa Química Isopropanol plant project in Huelva, which will be operational in 2025.”
Driving the circular economy
This project, conducted on the basis of research and development, safety and innovation, reinforces Cepsa's ambitious commitments to decarbonization and the use of the circular economy as part of its Positive Motion strategy, whereby the company seeks to become a reference in the energy transition during this decade.
Cepsa is promoting the achievement of this ambitious goals through the implementation of new technologies, the development of waste co-processing projects and the identification of synergies with other companies to promote industrial symbiosis.
Cepsa is in full implementation of the progressive substitution of fossil raw materials for renewable and recycled sources. In this regard, the energy company aims to become a pivotal player in the construction of new sustainable production models, which is why it is committed to increasing the share of renewable and circular raw materials in its Energy Parks to 15% by 2030. This will entail using 2.8 million tons of bio-based raw materials in the current decade, of which 75% will be second-generation (2G) and other waste that would otherwise be discarded.
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.Rll