• Ron Kotrba

Repsol, Vueling team up on the airline’s 1st sustainable fuel flight


IAG airline Vueling completed its first flight using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) Nov. 10 on a route between Barcelona and Seville in Spain. Madrid-based energy company Repsol provided the SAF used in the flight, which was produced at its Tarragona complex from sustainable vegetable oils. The company has also produced a similar batch at the refinery in Puertollano and another one from waste at the Petronor refinery, a Repsol facility located in Bilbao.


According to Repsol, the flight from Barcelona to Seville avoided emission of 2.5 tons of CO2 thanks to the efficiency provided by the new generation Airbus A320neo, the use of biofuel, and the efficiency procedures implemented. Vueling has the third most modern fleet in Europe, as of 2019. with its new A320neo.


The initiative is part of a collaboration agreement signed between Repsol and Vueling to create a working group and advance the introduction of sustainable fuels in day-to-day aeronautical operations.


“Repsol has been working for 15 years to develop different low carbon footprint solutions applied to transport,” said Javier Sancho, director of the Repsol’s Tarragona complex. “It is a pioneer in the manufacture of sustainable aviation fuels in Spain, such as the batch of biojet manufactured in Tarragona that has been used in this flight. The production of biofuels is one of the main axes in Repsol’s 2021-’25 strategic plan that aims to transforming the company’s industrial business and step up its commitments to reach carbon neutrality by 2050."


Marco Sansavini, chairman of Vueling, said, “Vueling’s commitment to the environment is all-encompassing. This first flight using sustainable fuel is a big step in our commitment to reduce our CO2 emissions and the use of 10 percent of SAF by 2030. A confirmation of the feasibility of using the latest generation of aviation fuels that use completely sustainable sources such as urban waste and biomass as raw materials.”


In October 2020, Repsol announced the construction of Spain’s first advanced biofuels plant, which will be commissioned in 2023. It will be located in Cartagena and will have an annual capacity of 250,000 tons (approximately 80 million gallons) of biofuels produced from waste for cars, trucks, and airplanes.


In the port of Bilbao, in the vicinity of the Petronor refinery, Repsol plans to build one of the world’s largest synthetic fuel plants, using renewable hydrogen and CO2 as inputs. This facility will be put into operation in 2024 and will have a capacity of more than 2,100 tons per year.


Repsol’s new pathway to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 establishes a carbon-intensity reduction of 15 percent in 2025, 28 percent in 2030, and 55 percent in 2040.

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