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Cepsa to convert alkylation unit

Published by , Senior Editor
Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Honeywell has announced that Cepsa will convert an alkylation unit using hydrofluoric acid to Honeywell UOP’s solid bed Detal-Plus technology at its refinery in San Roque, Spain.

The unit produces linear alkylbenzene (LAB), which is used to make a variety of different detergent formulations, including biodegradable household detergents.

Honeywell will provide catalysts and adsorbents, basic engineering design and other associated services for the complex. When completed in 2020, this project will mark the world’s first conversion of an HF alkylation unit to solid bed technology. With the conversion to Detal-Plus technology, the plant’s capacity will increase by 50 000 tpy to 250 000 tpy of LAB.

“The Detal-Plus technology is a highly efficient solid bed process for making detergent alkylate,” said John Gugel, President of Honeywell UOP. “It also has the added benefit of being far simpler to operate.”

The technology, which was co-developed with Cepsa, is the first solid bed technology with the flexibility to produce LAB for a variety of different detergent formulations. The heart of the process is Honeywell UOP’s new ZDA-30 series catalyst, which features higher activity and selectivity, making it more energy efficient.

“In addition to pioneering development of this technology with UOP, Cepsa is the world leader in the manufacture of LAB,” said Miguel Ángel Calderón, Vice President, Technology at Cepsa. “This project allows us to revamp the Puente Mayorga plant at San Roque, so we can enhance its competitiveness, and apply this experience to our other installations around the world.”

The Detal-Plus technology, combined with Honeywell UOP’s Molex, Pacol, DeFine and PEP processes, forms an integrated and energy-efficient LAB complex. The Molex process provides one of the most economical routes to produce normal paraffins from kerosene. Pacol technology performs dehydrogenation of normal paraffins to olefins, and PEP technology handles the selective removal of aromatics.

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