"Tarragona has an ecosystem with incredible potential"
"Tarragona has an ecosystem with incredible potential." These were the words that Kepa Díaz de Mendibil, Vice President of EMEAI Operations and Director of Dow Benelux, spoke the most times yesterday, during the Dow 2022 Award ceremony. “We have a port with a great infrastructure, a university full of talent and an important business network", he added.
Díaz de Mendibil gave a talk in which he discovered the main future challenges facing the industry in Tarragona. Sustainability and growth. These are the goals set. The poniente insisted that this potential must be exploited. In fact, Díaz de Mendibil left homework to those present, among whom were political and business representatives, as well as students: «I leave you the task of developing all these assets. Not doing so would be a sin," he said.
Who did take advantage of the occasion was Díaz de Mendibil himself, who, capturing the attention of all the agents in the territory, explained the path to follow to carry out the objective. "We are going to start the most important transformation process in the last 40 years," he assured.
According to the speaker, the industry in general and Dow in particular, does not manufacture products, it manufactures solutions. “Imagine if we were able to do it without emitting COtwo to the environment. That we were capable of turning these solutions back into raw materials », he said. And then the lapidary phrase: «In Tarragona it will be a reality between 2035 and 2040».
Our territory has two crackers. Its function is to heat the raw material – naphtha, for example – to a temperature of one thousand degrees. In this way, matter is fractionated and that is when another compound is created –such as ethylene, among others–. As a consequence of this operation, a gas is generated. The key to success, according to Díaz de Mendibil, "is being able to remove and capture the COtwo of this gas, so that it becomes clean and circular hydrogen.
Capture and store COtwo it is a temporary, transitional solution, while work is being done on a second phase, which aims to reuse this compound. It is here that we take a look at the year 2035-2040.
To achieve this, three conditions are necessary. That there be a commitment to renewable electrical energy in abundance and cost, that technology allows transforming the Cotwo in finished products –that is, in solutions–, and lastly, that there are electric ovens in the crackers.
After this explanation, Díaz de Mendibil addressed the students present in the room and commissioned them to be "actors, locomotives and leaders in this historical transformation." The speaker insisted: "if you want to be at the forefront, Dow is your place." And he addressed the Tarragona "ecosystem" again, advising that "we all have to go together, collaborating."
Kepa Díaz de Mendibil perfectly exemplifies the meaning of the Dow Award 20022. The protagonist began his professional career at the Dow company as an industrial engineer. He has spent his entire career at the company, occupying positions of great responsibility. He also in our territory, becoming director of the Tarragona Industrial Complex in 2012, as well as president of the AEQT. Currently, he is plant manager for Dow Terneuzen and vice president of EMEAI operations.
We say that Díaz de Mendibil concentrates the essence of the Premis Dow because they seek to recognize the talent that exists in our territory, thanks to the collaboration between the company and the URV. The students of the Escola Tècnica Superior d'Enginyeria Química (ETSEQ) have the opportunity to join the world of work through this route.
Yesterday, the winner of the Premi Dow 2022 and the protagonist of the day was Berta Taixés, a young woman with a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Barcelona and a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering from the URV. The winner has been working at Dow for four months. "This award is an opportunity to develop tasks in a key company for the territory", and she added that "it is important for me to be able to contribute as an engineer in small things to innovate technologies in the face of the challenges that come."
The Premi Dow is an event that brings together a large part of the active agents in our territory. From mayors, representatives of the State and the Government of the Generalitat, in addition to the business fabric of the demarcation. The rector of the URV, Josep Pallarès, participated in the act, who highlighted the university's ability to weave complicity with socioeconomic agents. Also the general secretary of industry and PIME of the government, Raül Blanco, who took the opportunity to vindicate the Tarragona petrochemical estate, and promised to be at the side of this Tarragona “ecosystem”.