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Petrobras contracts Bunge to supply soybean oil for renewable diesel coprocessing

Photo: Petrobras

Petrobras and Bunge, the largest Brazilian producers of petroleum derivatives and soybean oil, respectively, signed a contract for the purchase of refined soybean oil for the production of R5 Diesel at the Getúlio Vargas Refinery (Repar), in Paraná, Petrobras announced Aug. 2.

“R5 Diesel” is produced from the coprocessing of vegetable oils, in this case refined soy oil, with petroleum diesel oil.

The fuel leaves the refinery with about 95 percent mineral diesel derived from petroleum and 5 percent renewable diesel, also called “green diesel” or “hydrotreated vegetable oil” (HVO).

Distributors will add the 10 percent methyl ester biodiesel, as established by current legislation.

The raw material began to be supplied at the end of July and production will take place in September. Around 1.5 million liters (nearly 400,000 gallons) will be destined for the first commercial tests of the product, which will verify the market’s receptivity to the new fuel.

Green or renewable diesel is an advanced biofuel, chemically similar to mineral diesel, only produced from renewable raw materials such as vegetable oils, animal fats or even used cooking oil.

It can be produced in industrial units specifically designed for its production, or by coprocessing in existing hydrotreatment units, in which the unit is loaded with mineral diesel mixed with vegetable oils.

In commercial tests to be carried out, the product will be offered in order to identify segments interested in using this fuel to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Currently, the National Energy Policy Council (CNPE) is discussing the possibility of renewable diesel, produced in dedicated units or by coprocessing with vegetable oils, also being considered in the biofuel mandate present in the diesel oil sold at gas stations.

If accepted, the introduction of the new fuel makes it possible to use higher levels of renewables in new diesel engines.

Petrobras plans to expand the production of diesel with renewable content to two more refineries in Southeast Brazil and, in the future, to have a unit dedicated to the processing of the renewable raw material.

By 2026, USD$600 million will be invested with this objective through the Biorefino Program.



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