Cepsa JV to build largest 2G biofuels plant in southern Europe
Photo courtesy of Cepsa

Cepsa JV to build largest 2G biofuels plant in southern Europe

Cepsa, a leading international company headquartered in Madrid, Spain, and Bio-Oils, a member of the Apical group of companies, have created a joint venture to promote the  production of second generation (2G) biofuels through the construction of the largest plant in  southern Europe. Apical is a leading vegetable oil processor based in Singapore.

The facility, which will be located at Cepsa’s La Rábida  Energy Park in Palos de la Frontera, Huelva, Spain, will entail an investment of up to EUR1 billion (USD1.1 billion), one of  the largest private investments in the history of the southern Spanish region of Andalusia. 

The new plant will secure the majority of the feedstock supply from organic waste such as agricultural  residue or used cooking oils through a global, long-term agreement with Apical, Bio-Oils’ parent  company, enabling it to address one of the key challenges facing the industry: access to feedstock. 

2G biofuels promote the circular economy by using waste for their production that would otherwise  end up in landfills. 

Cepsa will contribute its technical expertise and experience in the development of large industrial  projects and fuel production as well as its knowledge of the European market and the decarbonisation  goals of its customers in the transport sector. Apical and Bio-Oils will ensure the supply of raw  materials and contribute their own expertise in biofuels production. 

The new plant, which will create approximately 2,000 direct and indirect jobs during its construction  and operation phase, will include two pretreatment units and the capacity for flexible annual  production of 500,000 tons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel for land, sea and  air transportation. The plant is scheduled to begin operating in the first half of 2026. 

The construction of this new plant is part of Cepsa’s objective to lead the manufacture of 2G biofuels  in Spain and Portugal. The company will have an annual production of 2.5 million tons of biofuels by 2030, of which 800,000 tons will be of SAF, enough sustainable aviation fuel to fly around the planet  2,000 times.  

The facility will be constructed with the latest technology specifically created for the production of  this type of biofuels. Designed as a digital native plant, the new operation incorporates state-of-the-art technology, including the latest industry advances in artificial intelligence, internet of things (IoT) and data analysis to maximise process efficiency, and ensure the highest standards of safety and  environmental protection. 

The sustainable fuels developed in this new plant will save 1.5 million tons of CO2 emissions per year,  equivalent to 30% of emissions in the province of Huelva. The use of biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% compared to traditional fuels, making biofuels a key element in enabling a fair energy transition to decarbonise transportation, particularly in sectors where electrification is  complex, such as heavy road, maritime, and air transportation. Cepsa’s chemical business will also  benefit from this project having access to organic waste feedstocks for the production of their  sustainable product portfolio.