Spanish energy company Repsol is set to build the first plant in Spain for the production of low-carbon advanced biofuels including hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) at its refinery in Cartagena, the company announced on 22 October.

Due to be operational in 2023, the 250,000 tonnes/year €188M (US$219M) facility would produce HVO, bio jet fuel, bionaphtha and biopropane from recycled raw materials. It would include the commissioning of a hydrogen plant that would fuel a new hydrotreatment unit.

The company said the new advanced biofuels could cut CO2 emissions by 900,000 tonnes/year.

Repsol said the project was in line with its commitment to become a net zero emissions company by 2050. The company was planning to double its production of high-quality biofuels from vegetable oils (HVO) to 600,000 tonnes by 2030, half of which would be produced from waste before 2025.

“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 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,” said Repsol CEO Josu Jon Imaz.

In line with its plan to evolve towards a low-emissions energy model, Repsol announced in August that it had produced the first batch of bio jet fuel for aviation in the Spanish market at its Puertollano refinery.

“Repsol has included biofuels in its automotive fuels for over two decades and it has recently been increasing the biofuel content. In 2020, the energy percentage had reached 8.5% in line with regulatory requirements in Spain,” the company said.

The European Union’s revised Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) proposes a minimum of 14% renewable energy in transportation by 2030 and Spain has established a stricter target of 28% renewable energy in transportation for 2030 through its Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate (PNIEC).