Honeywell 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 a HF alkylation unit to solid bed technology. With the conversion to Detal-Plus technology, the plant’s capacity will increase by 50,000 metric tons to 250,000 metric tons of LAB per year.
The Detal-Plus 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.
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.
Honeywell pioneered the manufacture of LAB in the 1960s, helping address the negative environmental impact of conventional detergents. Today, LAB from Honeywell UOP processes is the most widely used component in the production of biodegradable detergents, emulsifiers, dispersants, wetting and foaming agents.