Construction begins on the largest biofuels plant in southern Europe

Cepsa and Bio-Oils, Apical's biofuels company, have just started construction of the largest second-generation biofuels plant in southern Europe. Biofuels are considered a solution for the decarbonization of transportation, which currently accounts for 15% of global CO2 emissions. This is a strategic technology for Europe since it can reduce emissions by up to 90% compared to traditional fuels.

The new facility will produce flexibly annually 500,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and renewable diesel (HVO). Its start-up is scheduled for 2026 and it will be built in Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), next to the La Rábida Energy Park. Its development involves an investment of 1,200 million euros and the creation of 2,000 jobs, both direct and indirect, during the installation and operation phases.

This new plant, which will be built with the latest technology for the production of renewable fuels, will have a minimal environmental impact. Thanks to the consumption of renewable hydrogen, 100% renewable electricity and different heat recovery and energy efficiency systems, This facility will emit 75% less CO2 than a traditional biofuels plant and is designed to achieve net zero emissions in the medium term. Likewise, it will not consume fresh water, but will only use recovered water, and its water emissions will have a minimal impact on the ecosystem, thanks to the powerful water treatment plant it will have.

In addition, the installation will enable the development of other key projects for the repositioning of Spain and Andalusia in the international energy panorama. In addition to SAF and renewable diesel (HVO), The plant will also produce biogas, fundamental raw material for the production of green hydrogen, essential for the decarbonization of the industry, such as this same plant or the energy park next to which it is built, or for the production of fertilizers. Additionally, from the treatment of biogas, captures another product, biogenic CO2, essential for the production of green methanol, key to decarbonizing maritime transport. Therefore, this project is a key piece in the entire ecosystem of the Andalusian Green Hydrogen Valley.

The beginning of the construction of this project has had the participation of Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, president of the Junta de Andalucía, Teresa Ribera, third vice president and minister for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge, Maarten Wetselaar, CEO of Cepsa, Anderson Tanoto, CEO of RGE, which runs a group of natural resource-based manufacturing companies including Apical and Bio-Oils, and Pratheepan Karunagaran, CEO of Apical. “We began to materialize the first major milestone of the Positive Motion strategy with the construction of our new second-generation biofuels plant. This strategic project for Spain and Andalusia will allow us to be a European benchmark in the field of green molecules and will facilitate the immediate decarbonization of non-electrifiable sectors, such as air transport. We are thus beginning a process that will generate quality employment for this region and that will allow us to open a new stage of reindustrialization,” recalled Maarten Wetselaar, CEO of Cepsa during the event.

And Cepsa is promoting the development of an ecosystem focused on accelerating its decarbonization and that of its clients through its 2030 “Positive Motion” strategy, based on the production of green molecules, mainly renewable hydrogen -and its derivatives-. and 2G biofuels, to become a benchmark for the energy transition. With this center Cepsa is also getting closer to its objective of leading the production of 2G biofuels in Spain and Portugal. The company aspires to have in this decade a annual production capacity of 2.5 million tons of biofuelsof which 800,000 tons will be SAF, an amount of sustainable aviation fuel enough to fly over the planet 2,000 times.