Cepsa and Bio-Oils Break Ground on Massive 2G Biofuels Plant

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Cepsa 2G Biofuel plant Europe

Cepsa and Bio-Oils, a subsidiary of Apical, have initiated the construction of what is set to be the largest second-generation biofuels plant in southern Europe. This significant project will see the joint venture between Cepsa and Bio-Oils doubling its current production capacity, flexibly producing 500,000 tons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel (hydrogenated vegetable oil or HVO) annually.

Located in Palos de la Frontera, Huelva, Spain, adjacent to La Rábida Energy Park, the plant’s construction is slated for completion in 2026. With a substantial investment of 1.2 billion euros and the creation of 2,000 direct and indirect jobs during construction and operation phases, the project marks a significant economic and environmental milestone for the region.

The groundbreaking ceremony, attended by key figures including Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, President of the Regional Government of Andalusia, Teresa Ribera, Third Vice-President and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, and executives from Cepsa and Apical, highlighted the strategic importance of the initiative in advancing Spain’s energy transition objectives.

Speaking at the event, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, President of the Regional Government of Andalusia said: “Andalusia is ready to become Europe’s major producer and distributor of clean energy, playing a key role in the irrevocable goal of decarbonizing the planet. This future biofuel plant by Cepsa is a clear and valuable example, a project included in our Project Accelerator Unit, allowing it to be processed in just six months, less than half of what is usually required.”

Teresa Ribera, Third Vice-President and Minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, stated: “It is not enough to just change the color of molecules or electrons; the industries behind them, the services behind them, are a great opportunity to reindustrialize and modernize our productive fabric. That is why we want to include the industrial value chain in the change process and why we want to dedicate more than 750 million euros to this program, ensuring that the heavy goods needed for success are produced in Spain.”

Maarten Wetselaar, CEO of Cepsa Said: “Today we are breaking ground on our second-generation biofuels plant, the first major milestone of our Positive Motion strategy. This strategic project for Spain and Andalusia will make us a European benchmark in the field of green molecules and facilitate the immediate decarbonization of sectors that cannot run on electrons, like aviation. This is the start of a new chapter for Cepsa and this region that will generate quality employment and a new era of industrialization.”

Pratheepan Karunagaran, Executive Director of Apical Said: “The global production of SAF is expected to triple in 2024, compared to the 2023 levels, reaching 1.5 million tons. Yet, the availability of sustainably available feedstock remains a challenge for many countries. As we continue to expand Apical’s global footprint and capacities, the availability of waste and residue is set to grow in tandem, enabling value-added partnerships to be forged for our waste stream to drive the production and adoption of SAF. Our 2G biofuels plant with Cepsa, which will be the largest aviation fuel processing facility in southern Europe, is an excellent example of how industry players can come together to unlock the potential of SAF and scale up adoption in an affordable manner.”

The plant, equipped with state-of-the-art technology for renewable fuel production, is designed for minimal environmental impact. Utilizing renewable hydrogen, 100% renewable electricity, and advanced heat recovery and energy efficiency systems, the facility aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 75% compared to traditional biofuel plants, with plans for net zero emissions in the medium term. Additionally, it will operate without consuming fresh water, utilizing only reclaimed water and implementing robust water treatment systems to minimize environmental impact.

The plant’s significance extends beyond biofuel production, with plans to produce biogas for green hydrogen production, essential for decarbonizing industries, and biogenic CO2 for green methanol production, further contributing to the region’s energy transition objectives.

The project underscores the importance of biofuels in accelerating transportation decarbonization efforts, with renewable fuels capable of reducing CO2 emissions by up to 90% compared to traditional fuels. As part of its Positive Motion strategy, Cepsa aims to lead 2G biofuel production in Spain and Portugal, with plans to develop an annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons of biofuels by 2030.

Operating at the forefront of the bioeconomy, Apical’s waste-to-value approach optimizes its supply chain to produce renewable fuels from agricultural waste and residues, aligning with its sustainable business strategy.

The construction of this biofuels plant signifies a significant step towards achieving regional and international energy transition goals, positioning Spain and Andalusia as key players in the global renewable energy landscape.

Source CEPSA