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Biofuels producer Orlen Południe is set to build a rapeseed processing plant in Kętrzyn in the Polish province of Olsztyn.

The plant was expected to process 500,000 tonnes/year of rapeseed sourced mainly from Polish agricultural producers, producing 200,000 tonnes of oil for the manufacture of low-carbon biofuels, the company said on 21 September.

Orlen Południe, which is part of the Orlen Group, said the oil produced in Kętrzyn would meet the specifications required for use in its production facilities, which includes a biodiesel plant in Trzebinia.

“We have a … strategy to advance our biofuel production capabilities. To further this vision, we are actively investing in our refineries in Trzebinia, Jedlicze, Płock and Gdańsk. The [Kętrzyn] facility is expected to utilise a substantial portion, approximately one-seventh, of the total domestic output of the crop,” Orlen CEO and president of the management board Daniel Obajtek said.

Estimated to cost around US$195M (PLN 850M), construction of the facility was expected to begin in the first half of next year, with completion due by mid-2026.

In addition to the pressing plant, the complex would comprise processing nodes, including facilities for raw material reception and product dispatch, raw material and product storage, pressing and extraction, process steam production and wastewater treatment, the company said.

The contractor for the project will be a consortium of Polimex Mostostal and Polish engineering company AB Industry.

In 2022, Poland’s rapeseed crop yielded a total of 3.6M tonnes.

On 4 October, Orlen also announced the launch of a used cooking oil (UCO)/ fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) unit in Trzebinia.

Orlen’s new unit would produce 30,000 tonnes/year of second-generation fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and 7,000 tonnes/year of technical-grade glycerine.

The company said the new unit was part of the group’s biofuels strategy, to replace fossil fuels with fuels made from waste materials.

“By 2030, the use of bio-additives in the Orlen Group will increase to approximately 3M tonnes/year and will be an important business area,” Obajtek said.

Construction of the new PLN 127.5M (US$29.95M) facility started in November 2021 with AB Industry as the general contractor.