Repsol produces first batch of aviation biofuel in Tarragona
Photo courtesy of Repsol

Repsol produces first batch of aviation biofuel in Tarragona

Repsol has successfully produced the first batch of aviation biofuel at the Repsol Industrial Complex in Tarragona, Spain. With this milestone, the company advances in the manufacture of fuels with a low-carbon footprint for certain market segments, such as aviation, where alternatives like electrification are difficult to implement. More batches of biofuel for aviation will be manufactured at the group’s other industrial complexes in Spain. 

As part of its overall decarbonization strategy, Repsol also has initiatives underway for the manufacture of low-emissions fuels based on residues at its various industrial sites.

The batch manufactured from biomass in Tarragona has passed the stringent tests required for this kind of product. It consists of 10,000 tons of aviation fuel — equivalent to the consumption of 145 flights between Barcelona, Spain, and Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., — and has a bio content of less than 5% in order to comply with the quality requirements established in international specifications. Its use as a sustainable aviation fuel will avoid the emission of 630 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, the equivalent of 55 flights between Madrid, Spain and Barcelona, Spain.

In Spain, the Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate recognizes that biofuels currently represent the most widely available and used renewable technology in transportation. In certain sectors, such as aviation, biojet fuel produced from biomass or waste is the only existing alternative to fossil fuels and is included in the list of sustainable fuels.

Given the important role played by biofuels in reducing emissions, Repsol started to work years ago on different solutions with a low carbon footprint applied to transportation.

The drive to produce low-emissions fuels comes on top of the projects that Repsol has already rolled out in energy efficiency, low-emissions electricity generation, renewable hydrogen, circular economy initiatives, synthetic fuels, and CO2 capture, use and storage. It represents one of the company’s primary lines of action for achieving its goal of becoming a net zero emissions company by 2050.

In the case of biojet fuel, tests have been conducted to determine the best raw material, with the goal of meeting the stringent requirements for Jet A1 fuels in terms of their performance at low temperatures and additional quality controls. Likewise, numerous tests were conducted to determine the most appropriate biofuel concentration and the most appropriate production unit to manufacture it.

In August 2020, Repsol announced the production of its first batch of biofuel at the Puertollano Industrial Complex. It was the first batch of biojet fuel on the Spanish market which positions Repsol as a pioneer in sustainable solutions for the aviation sector.

In line with its commitment to the energy transition and its ambition to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, Repsol will build the first low-emissions advanced biofuels plant in Spain at its refinery in Cartagena, Spain, with an annual production capacity of 250,000 tons of hydrobiodiesel, biojet, bionaphtha and biopropane.

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