• Ron Kotrba

Repsol plans 188 million-euro renewable diesel, SAF plant in Cartagena, Spain


Photo: Repsol

After Madrid-based multinational energy firm Repsol announced in June that it was launching two major decarbonization projects at its Petronor refinery in Bilbao, and in July that it produced its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for the Spanish market at its Puertollano refinery, the company is once again making major news.


In late October Repsol unveiled a plan to construct a 188 million-euro biorefinery in Cartagena, Spain, to convert recycled lipid feedstock into 250,000 metric tons per year (roughly 80 MMgy) of renewable diesel, SAF, bionaphtha and biopropane. In mid-November Axens announced Repsol would be employing its Vegan process technology for the hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) project.


The scope of Axens’ work, according to the technology company, includes the supply of process books, catalysts and adsorbents, proprietary equipment, training and technical services.


The new facility will include the commissioning of a hydrogen plant to fuel its new hydrotreatment unit. Repsol says it expects production in Cartagena to begin in 2023.


"Repsol will benefit from a notable know-how backed by 50 years of experience in middle distillates hydrotreatment, hydrocracking and hydroisomerization, along with support in technology, services and state-of-the-art catalysts developed, manufactured and provided by Axens," said Patrick Sarrazin, an executive vice president with Axens.


Image: Repsol

"Repsol is promoting different technological options for sectors of transport where electrification is not a technically viable option," Repsol stated. "This adds to renewable hydrogen and synthetic fuels projects that provide new routes towards carbon neutrality in transport."


The EU's Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) lays out a roadmap for a minimum of 14 percent renewable energy in transportation by 2030. Furthermore, Spain's Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate establishes a stricter target of 28 percent renewable energy in transportation for 2030.


"With this new [Cartagena] project, Repsol stays one step ahead of the regulatory framework and decisively advances towards its goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2050," Repsol stated.


The 188 million-euro Cartagena project is part of Repsol's goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. According to Repsol, the new biorefinery will contribute an annual reduction of 900,000 tons of CO2, an amount of CO2 absorption from a forest the size of 180,000 soccer fields. To further the attainment of its net-zero goal, Repsol has major solar and wind projects as well, which generate significant amounts of renewable power.


The company says it will double production of HVO to 600,000 tons by 2030, half of which it says will be produced from waste before 2025.

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