Spain: Circular Economy Repsol to Invest 221 Million Dollars for Spain’s Maiden Advanced Biofuels Unit

Editor: Ahlam Rais

The mega low-emission facility will be constructed at Repsol’s Cartagena refinery in Spain and is expected to supply 250,000 tonnes of advanced biofuels annually to aircrafts, trucks, and cars. The project is in line with the firm’s ambitions of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

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The plant, projected to be operational in 2023, will produce advanced biofuels from recycled raw materials.
The plant, projected to be operational in 2023, will produce advanced biofuels from recycled raw materials.
(Source: Repsol)

Spain – Repsol will build the first production plant for advanced biofuels in Spain at its Cartagena refinery. From this new facility, the multi-energy company, committed to the circular economy as a tool for efficient resource use and emissions reduction, will annually supply 250,000 tonnes of advanced biofuels to aircrafts, trucks, and cars.

The new facility, construction of which will represent an estimated investment of 221 million dollars, will include the commissioning of a hydrogen plant that will fuel a new hydrotreatment unit equipped with cutting-edge technology.

This project is part of Repsol's commitment to the energy transition and its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The advanced biofuels produced at the Cartagena refinery will enable a reduction of 900,000 tonnes of CO2 annually – approximately equivalent to the CO2 absorption of a forest the size of 180,000 soccer fields – in yet another of the company's initiatives to fight climate change and, at the same time, give recycled raw materials new life.

With this state-of-the-art decarbonisation project, Repsol is also making a commitment to developing the industrial sector and to generating economic activity in Spain while promoting direct, indirect, and induced employment. With the support of auxiliary companies, the construction and commissioning work for the plant will be carried out in different phases and will require the work of some 1,000 professionals from diverse fields.

The plant, projected to be operational in 2023, will produce advanced biofuels from recycled raw materials.
The plant, projected to be operational in 2023, will produce advanced biofuels from recycled raw materials.
(Source: Repsol)

Repsol Chairman Antonio Brufau recently met the President of the Murcia Region, Fernando López Miras to explain the details of the new Repsol advanced biofuels plant, an important project for Cartagena and for the region as a whole in terms of generating economic activity and employment.

At the press conference, Repsol CEO Josu Jon Imaz stressed on the importance of this pioneering project in Spain: “With this initiative, we at Repsol are decisively promoting a new technological route that will be key in our path towards carbon neutrality. It is added to the projects that we have already implemented in energy efficiency, low-emissions electricity generation, renewable hydrogen, circular economy, synthetic fuels, and CO2 capture, use, and storage, among others.”

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“Spain must base its decarbonisation strategy on its industrial and technological capabilities, because that will be the way to promote a competitive and innovative business fabric,” said Imaz, before adding that “all forms of decarbonisation are valid and complementary and incentivising them so that they can all contribute, without exclusion, will accelerate the energy transition and help us, as a society, achieve a speedy economic recovery, so necessary under the current circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.”

A Cutting-Edge Project

Last year on December 2, Repsol announced that it was orienting its strategy to become a net zero emissions company by 2050, in accordance with the Paris Agreement, making it the first company in its sector to adopt this ambitious goal.

The company emphasized circular economy as a tool for the efficient use of resources and noted that it will double production of high-quality biofuels from vegetable oils (HVO) to 600,000 tonnes by 2030, half of which will be produced from waste before 2025.

Indeed, the singularity of the project at the Cartagena refinery has to do with circular economy and the reuse of recycled raw materials in order to give them a new life and turn them into new products with high added value, in this case biofuels whose use reduces net CO2 emissions.

Repsol has been including biofuels in its automotive fuels for over two decades. In recent years, it has been increasing the biofuel content, and in 2020 the energy percentage reached 8.5 %, in line with the regulatory requirements in Spain that translate the country’s commitments as agreed within the EU.

The European institutions have already laid out a roadmap through a new directive that proposes a minimum of 14 % renewable energy in transportation by the year 2030. In addition, Spanish legislation establishes, in the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate, a stricter target of 28 % renewable energy in transportation for 2030. With this new project, Repsol stays one step ahead of the regulatory framework and decisively advances towards its goal of becoming a carbon neutral company by 2050.

The International Energy Agency considers that biofuels will be a key lever in the gradual process of decarbonisation of transportation, mainly from 2030 and in sectors where electrification presents challenges, such as aviation and maritime transportation.

Similarly, the promotion of biofuels will help diversify Spain’s energy matrix and make it possible to progress in the country’s energy independence, in addition to generating economic activity and stable quality employment.