British-based Croda International, Plc selected Walbridge to construct a $170 million expansion to its specialty chemicals production plant in New Castle, Del. When completed, the facility will begin converting ethanol into ethylene oxide, the primary chemical used to manufacture non-ionic surfactants. It will become the first facility in North America to produce 100 percent sustainable non-ionic surfactants, active emulsifying agents that keep oil and water together. They are used in products such as face cream, toothpaste, paint, and laundry detergent.
Expansion of Croda’s Atlas Point plant will enable the company to produce non-ionic surfactants from bio-ethanol while maintaining performance standards. With bio-ethanol, Croda is reducing its use of fossil fuels by moving away from traditional petrochemical derived ingredients.
In early 2016, walbridge.completed work on the steel structure that houses the main process reactor. The massive reactor was shipped to the nearby Port of Wilmington, then trucked to the construction site and erected.
At the project’s conclusion, approximately 6,500 yards of concrete foundations will be placed, 1,400 tons of structural steel pipe racks and equipment supports will be constructed, and more than 19 miles of process piping will be installed. Three support buildings will be constructed. Approximately 10 million to 14 million gallons of ethanol will be converted annually into ethylene oxide.