Repsol begins construction of its first advanced biofuels plant in Spain


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By: Dr. Franyi Sarmiento, Ph.D., Inspenet, March 7, 2022

Repsol began construction of the first advanced biofuels plant in Spain at its Complejo Industrial de Cartagena refinery. The company will invest 200 million euros in this project that will make it possible to supply 250,000 tons per year of advanced biofuels, such as biodiesel, biojet, bionaphtha and biopropane, which can be used in planes, boats, trucks or vehicles without the need to make modifications to the engine.

These ecofuels will be produced from waste and their use will reduce 900,000 tons of CO2 per year, according to Repsol in a statement. The project is being developed in four different areas that cover an area of 41,500 m2. Three of them will be located inside the refinery and correspond to the hydrotreatment unit, the hydrogen production unit and the area of deposits for the storage of biofuels. The fourth zone will be located in the facilities of the Cartagena Port Authority where Repsol operates.

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The expansion of the Cartagena refinery facilities to build the new advanced biofuels plant, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology, will mean the generation of some 1,000 jobs in the different phases of the project and the involvement of 240 companies auxiliaries -of which 21% will be local, 25% regional, 42% national and 12% international-.

Currently, more than 25 contractor companies and some 300 people are already working inside the refinery. The number will increase until it reaches 600 employees, forecasting to reach some 800 direct and indirect workers next autumn. Since the project was launched, Repsol has allocated more than 72 million euros to preliminary engineering work, ordering equipment and labor from auxiliary companies, according to the company.

In this way, starting in the first half of 2023, it will produce advanced biofuels from different types of waste from the agri-food industry and others, such as used cooking oil. In this way, Repsol manages to give a second life to waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill and transforms it into products with high added value.

Advanced biofuels are a sustainable solution for all mobility segments, and especially for those that have no other alternative to decarbonise their activity, such as maritime, long-distance transport or aviation. With them it is possible to reduce between 65 and 85% net CO2 emissions compared to the traditional fuels they replace.

Repsol relies on the circular economy, as one of its strategic pillars, to manufacture products with a low, zero or even negative carbon footprint. The goal is to produce two million tons of biofuels with a low carbon footprint in 2030, which will mitigate more than seven million tons of CO2 per year.

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