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OMV Petrom to start coprocessing sustainable aviation fuel in Romania

The Petrobrazi refinery in Romania will begin coprocessing SAF from locally produced rapeseed oil in July. (Photo: OMV Petrom)

OMV Petrom, the largest integrated energy company in Southeastern Europe, will produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at the Petrobrazi refinery by coprocessing locally produced rapeseed oil. The first test-run volumes are estimated for next month. The product will help reduce the CO2 emissions from commercial flights.

“The production of SAF is part of our strategic objectives and we believe that it will become the main alternative for achieving the climate objectives of the aviation industry,” said Radu Căprău, a member of the executive board responsible for refining and marketing. “Our goal is that, in 2030, to have an annual combined production of SAF and HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) of about 450,000 tons.”

This test run was based on a successfully completed first rapeseed oil coprocessing pilot at the Petrobrazi refinery, performed in July 2020. OMV Petrom was certified as an HVO producer based on the CERTROM audit, in accordance with the requirements of the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC-EU) voluntary scheme. This is a system recognized by the European Commission for the certification of sustainable materials that comply with the legal requirements of the directive on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (RED). The use of HVO reduces the CO2 emissions by at least 65 percent compared to conventional diesel.

Petrobrazi will thus become the first ISCC-certified refinery in the country to produce SAF and HVO by coprocessing raw materials of a biological nature. “The SAF volumes produced at the Petrobrazi refinery for commercial flights will help reduce the CO2 emissions by about 70 percent compared to the conventional fuel,” OMV Petrom stated.

At the same time, the company aims to increase the production capacities in the future, in order to produce advanced sustainable fuels based on various waste feedstocks such as used cooking oil.

To meet the Green Deal climate goals, the European Commission's current plan includes the use of at least 63 percent SAF out of the aviation fuel demand by 2050 for EU air transport. Sustainable fuels will play a major role in decarbonizing this sector.

Romania is one of the largest producers of rapeseed in the European Union, ranking fourth in 2021. According to the National Institute of Statistics, most of the production is exported as raw material (seeds), only a part of the quantities obtained being recovered internally. By using locally obtained rapeseed oil in the production of sustainable fuels for aviation, OMV Petrom said that it is contributing to the expansion of the rapeseed value chain in Romania.

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