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Acelen Renewables enters market with global-scale project targeting over $2.5 billion in investment


While Acelen Renewables as a subsidiary was launched at COP28 in Dubai, Biobased Diesel Daily® shared in April Acelen's plans to convert its Mataripe Refinery in Bahia, Brazil, shown, to produce 264 mgy of renewable diesel and SAF by 2026. (Photo: Acelen)

Acelen Renewables, a subsidiary of Acelen, is a recently established energy company poised to actively participate in the global energy transition.


With a project targeting an investment exceeding $2.5 billion, its primary focus is on the production of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) utilizing the native Brazilian plant, Macaúba.


Acelen Renewables has Mubadala Capital, a global asset-management firm, as its main sponsor.


"We launched Acelen Renewables here at COP28 to showcase Brazil’s potential contribution to a more sustainable future,” said Luiz de Mendonça, CEO of Acelen Renewables. “We will produce renewable diesel and SAF, reducing CO2 emissions by 80 percent compared to traditional fuels.”


In April, Biobased Diesel Daily® shared Acelen’s plans to produce 264 million gallons per year of renewable diesel and SAF at its Mataripe Refinery in Bahia, Brazil.


De Mendonça added that this project is already a reality, as it is in the advanced phase of engineering and its studies to implement agriculture at a large scale.


The company said it will reach the global market, banking on innovative solutions to ensure the large-scale supply of renewable feedstocks that guarantee efficiency, productivity and reduce environmental impact.


According to a study conducted by the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), the projection is that a total of $17 billion will circulate in the Brazilian economy by 2035, directly and indirectly, from the project with a consequent increase in tax contributions across the entire production chain.


According to FGV’s analysis, the project is expected to create more than 90,000 direct and indirect jobs, with 70 percent being permanent, related to the operation of the renewable energy hub, and reduce CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent through the substitution of fossil fuels.


The company is expected to begin production in 2026.


"This is just the first step,” de Mendonça said. “The project is highly scalable. We plan to build several similar units to maximize the project’s impact and contribute to a greener future.”


Acelen Renewables said the project is unique as it covers the value chain, from seed to fuel, due to the formation of an ecosystem of strategic partners already contracted for the agro development, biorefinery construction, certification, and fuel marketing.


According to Acelen Renewables, the production of renewable diesel and SAF will initially target the international market, where these products are already approved for commercialization and consumption.


The company will also invest in plant genetics, improvement of agricultural productivity, and the selection of suitable areas for cultivation, prioritizing degraded areas.


An industrial-scale seed germination laboratory for research investments is already in development in Brazil.


The project is designed to be fully sustainable, with extensive decarbonization throughout the integrated chain using a high-energy native plant for CO2 absorption and the recovery of degraded areas.


Economically, the expectation is to create a broad range of opportunities for agribusiness, for both small and large producers, as well as public-private partnerships.


With a focus on the recovery of degraded lands, at least five agro-industrial hubs with macaúba cultivation will be established.


In total, 200,000 hectares of forests in the state of Bahia and Minas Gerais will be developed through public-private partnerships and the use of family farming, capturing up to 355 tons per hectare of CO2.


The expectation is that renewable diesel will emit up to 80 percent less CO2 than fossil diesel, and the high-energy plant cultivation is projected to capture 60 million tons of CO2 over 20 years.


In addition to adopting “agriculture 4.0 technology,” Acelen Renewables will develop the process of vegetable-oil extraction, generating coproducts with high added value and sustainably reusing waste.

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