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Cepsa Begins Construction of a Plant to Produce 80,000 mt of Isopropyl Alcohol in Spain

Cepsa is boosting its chemical business with the development of a new industrial activity that represents an advance and improvement in the diversification of its products The company has started work on a new isopropyl alcohol (IPA) plant, a product that is not only found in hydroalcoholic gels due to its biocidal properties, but also in cleaning products for both household and industry.

Image Credit: Cepsa

This new plant, with an investment of 75 million euros, will be located in the south of Spain, more specifically in the city of Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), and will be able to replace fossil-based raw materials in the production of isopropyl alcohol with sustainable raw materials. This will expand Cepsa Química's platform of more sustainable products, in line with Cepsa's Positive Motion energy transition strategy.

Isopropyl alcohol is used in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors and is also used as a solvent in the manufacture of paints, coatings, and printing inks, as well as an intermediate in the production of key ingredients in the pharmaceutical, cosmetics and agrochemical industries.

For Cepsa Química’s CEO, José María Solana the IPA project “is a very important step in our Next Chemicals in Positive Motion strategy. The facility will be connected to our Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley and, therefore, the activity will be perfectly aligned with our commitment to advance in the fight against climate change and accelerate the ecological transition, while providing Spain with greater autonomy of supply in this type of products".

The new facility, which will be constructed by the end of 2025, will have a production capacity of 80,000 tons per year. It is estimated that the construction of this new plant will require around 400,000 hours of work, including direct and indirect labour.

Synergies with the Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley

Cepsa's chemical business – and the new IPA plant – will benefit from its proximity to the Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley and the largest second-generation biofuels plant that Cepsa is building, as part of a joint venture with Bio-Oils, next to the La Rábida Energy Park in Huelva. The location of the new facility adjacent to the chemical plant and the La Rábida Energy Park will allow the three facilities to be highly integrated, creating strong industrial and economic synergies. In this regard, it is worth noting that the supply of acetone required for IPA production will come from Cepsa's chemical plant, thus increasing its added value. In addition, the hydrogen (raw material) will be provided by the Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley.

From the beginning, the facility will be prepared to use both energy and raw materials of renewable origin, in line with the commitments and development of Cepsa's “Positive Motion” strategy. In this sense, it is expected that, from the beginning, the supply of the necessary heat energy (gas and electricity) to produce IPA will be of renewable origin.

The construction of this new plant will enable Cepsa to diversify its product portfolio, placing the company in a leading position in the Iberian Peninsula market and making it one of the main producers and benchmarks for isopropyl alcohol in the European Union.

In this sense, the company has been a pioneer in the world in the development of more sustainable LAB and Phenol that maintain the same technical characteristics as the traditional products, but with a lower carbon footprint. These products, called NextLab and NextPhenol, make up this new portfolio (Next), whose production is based on renewable and recycled raw materials and the use of renewable energies. Cepsa Química has also developed and certified a certification system for this carbon footprint reduction that complies with international standards in this area.

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