Cepsa and Apical break ground on USD1.3B biofuels project in Spain
Photo courtesy of Cepsa

Cepsa and Apical break ground on USD1.3B biofuels project in Spain

Cepsa and Bio-Oils, a subsidiary of palm oil major Apical, broke ground on a EUR1.2 billion (USD1.3 billion) second-generation biofuels plant to be built in Huelva, Spain. Slated to open in 2026, the facility will be Europe’s largest plant which can produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel.

Apical Group, a leading producer and exporter of palm oil and its derivatives, has its headquarters in Singapore. Apical is part of the broader RGE Group, which is owned by Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto. The company is involved in the entire palm oil supply chain, including sourcing, refining, and distribution of palm oil products.

At 500,000 metric tons per year, the flagship project nearly doubles the partners’ existing capacity. It positions a newly expanded 2 million ton renewable fuels complex among Europe’s largest while supporting regional green jobs growth.

In addition to SAF and renewable diesel (HVO), the plant will also produce biogas, a fundamental raw material for the production of green hydrogen, essential for the decarbonization of industry such as this very plant or the energy park alongside it, or for the production of fertilizers. Additionally, another product is captured from the treatment of biogas โ€“ biogenic CO2 โ€“ which is essential for the production of green methanol to decarbonise maritime transport.

The two companies also signed a global feedstock supply deal as scale-up enabler. “Collaboration is key to unlock affordable, scalable SAF potential,” said Apical Director Pratheepan Karunagaran, citing production barriers.

“The global production of SAF is expected to triple in 2024, compared to the 2023 levels, reaching 1.5 million tons. Yet, the availability of sustainably available feedstock remains a challenge for many countries. As we continue to expand Apicalโ€™s global footprint and capacities, the availability of waste and residue is set to grow in tandem, enabling value-added partnerships to be forged for our waste stream to drive the production and adoption of SAF,โ€ he said.

Cepsa CEO Maarten Wetselaar added the milestone exemplifies its net zero progress. “We are breaking ground on our sustainable molecules plant, facilitating immediate emissions cuts where electrification pathways remain complex,” Wetselaar explained.

The cross-industry cooperation paradigm brings together strengths from feedstock expertise to refining technology innovation in trailblazing climate action. Commercialization rests on continuous alliance building through the transition.

About Cepsa

Cepsa is an international energy group specializing in mobility and chemicals. Its 2030 Positive Motion strategy targets biofuels and hydrogen leadership in Iberia including a 2050 net zero aim, matching parent company Mubadala’s sustainability commitments.