Chemicals company Cepsa Química has supplied consumer goods giant Unilever with its first batch of linear alkylbenzene (LAB), a renewable surfactant used as an alternative to traditional fossil LAB used in cleaning and laundry products, the company announced.

Cepsa’s NextLab LAB is made using “green carbon” derived from biomass instead of fossil fuels.

The company said it used a Mass Balance approach to create NextLab, blending and co-processing traditional black carbon sources with those from plant-based sources, known as green carbon. These sources are tracked during the production process to ensure that an appropriate volume of the green carbon content is in the final LAS surfactant.

“This way of manufacturing surfactants is not only the most viable, short-term alternative to purely fossil-carbon derived products, but it also constitutes a vital stepping-stone in the shift from petrochemical to renewable feedstocks,” the company said in the 20 July statement.

Unilever would use NextLab to produce Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate (LAS), the world’s largest-volume synthetic surfactant and its key raw material for household brands such as Persil, Cif and Sunlight, Cepsa said.

Last year, Unilever’s home care business announced that it would replace 100% of the carbon derived from black sources in its cleaning and laundry formulations with renewable or recycled carbon as part of its Carbon Rainbow model.

According to its website, Cepsa Química produces LAB at its plants in Bécancour, Canada, Camaçari, in Brazil, and Puente Mayorga, in Spain.