Spain-based Cepsa develops hydrogenation process to convert vegetable oil, animal fats, other waste into biodiesel, plans three refineries with combined production capacity of 100,000 m3/year

MADRID , June 1, 2011 (press release) – CEPSA has successfully developed a new process to manufacture biofuel from vegetable oil. This research project has been in progress since 2007, leading to the development of a hydrogenation process to transform vegetable oil into biofuel, using the same plant as that used to reduce the sulphur content in diesel. These units are used to produce a motor diesel known as hydrobiodiesel or hydro-treated biodiesel

The initial estimated production capacity for CEPSA’s three refineries will be in excess of 100,000m3 a year. Production will begin at the La Rábida refinery in Huelva in July and at the Gibraltar-San Roque refinery in Cadiz in November. The raw materials, crude palm oil, animal fats and other waste products, are all from certified sustainable sources.

CEPSA has been efficiently and rationally incorporating biofuels into its ranges since 2000. The use of additional renewable energy sources helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions, diversify primary energy consumption and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

We are also one of the first European companies to add bioethanol equivalent (ETBE) to our gasolines. This helps preserve the quality of the gasolines and allows them to be transported via Spain’s oil pipeline network, making distribution safer and more efficient.

The company has two bio-ETBE manufacturing plants, with annual consumption of 60,000 tonnes of bioethanol, and two plants attached to its refineries capable of producing 450,000 tonnes of biodiesel each year, meeting all its current needs for this biofuel.

CEPSA innovates to create products that make its customers’ lives easier and care for the environment. In 2010 the company added 196,000 tonnes of bioethanol (ETBE) to its gasolines and 282,000 tonnes of biodiesel to its A range of diesels, and a further 4,000 tonnes to its “B-10” “B-15”, “B-20” and “B-30” mixes, sourced mainly from Spanish producers and in line with European quality standards.

CEPSA is also studying a range of alternatives to help it comply with the new EC Directive 2009/28/EC which sets a target of 10% of the energy content of gasoline and diesel to be sourced from biofuels by 2020 (the target for 2011 is 6.2%):

- The use of third-generation biofuels, such as those obtained from algae crops.

- The transformation of vegetable biomass, forestry waste, etc., with a high lignin and cellulose content, into high-quality and high-performance fuels (a rapidly growing field).

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