Repsol YPF and Acciona sign biggest world agreement of its kind to produce biodiesel

Press Release 16/03/2006 07:00
  • Estimated investment could be over 300 million euros.
  • Up to six producing plants to be built, employing directly over 200 people, and indirectly over 5,000.
  • Total  biodiesel production to be over one million tonnes per year.
  • The group of  plants would  be operational  between the first semester in 2007 and the second semester in 2009.
  • The  biodiesel produced will prevent emissions  to the atmosphere of some 3 million tonnes of  CO2  in the year 2010.
  • By means of this agreement, Repsol YPF  and Acciona  will promote the production of vegetable oils in the Spanish agriculture, dedicating between  200,000  and 300,000 hectares of irrigated land for this purpose.
  • Both companies, collaborating in the area of biodiesel since  2000,  will continue researching for improved performance of crops  destined to produce  biofuels.
  • ACCIONA  will participate in the biodiesel plant that Repsol YPF intends to build at  León.  This project will be of an integrated nature, having the participation of local farming associations.

Repsol YPF and Acciona signed today an agreement to build and develop in Spain biodiesel plants that will produce over one million tonnes per year, using vegetable oils as raw material. The agreement means an estimated investment of 300 million euros and is the biggest ever signed up to now in the scope of biodiesel.

Repsol YPF Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Antonio Brufau and Acciona Chairman, José Manuel Entrecanales signed today the agreement to start this project, and which will permit Spain to meet almost half of its objective regarding biofuels, as contemplated in the National Plan of Renewable Energies for 2010. Production scheduled as per this agreement is supposed to prevent in that year emissions to the atmosphere some 3 million tonnes of CO2.

The project initially includes the installation of biodiesel production plants near the Repsol YPF Group refineries in Spain, and which would have a unit capacity over 200,000 tonnes per year. The agreement also includes Acciona taking part in building another plant in León, where development by Repsol YPF has already begun.

These projects will directly create employment for 200 people and over 5,000 people will be indirectly employed. It is expected that most of these jobs will come from the Spanish farming sector that might dedicate between 200,000 and 300,000 hectares of irrigated land to produce raw materials (colza and sunflower) to supply the biodiesel plants.

Collaboration between both companies in the field of biodiesel has been developed in the last few years by means of a extensive work done jointly for the development of technology aimed towards optimising the production and use of biodiesel. These commercial links have resulted in Repsol YPF already incorporating in the formulation of its automotive diesels biodiesel produced by Acciona at its factory located at Caparroso, Navarra. 

Repsol YPF, European leader in the use of biofuels

Both the European Directive and Spains National Plan of Renewable Energies include scenarios where by 2010 ambitious targets have been established to include biofuels in the supply of energy resources for the automotive sector. Specifically, Spains National Plan of Renewable Energies fixes a target of 5.83% for biofuels, expressed in energy terms, as a percentage of the total fuels consumed by automobiles.

Repsol YPF has for years committed itself to the use of biofuels as an essential form to help alleviate the greenhouse effect, and at the same time reduce Spains energy dependence.

Along this line, since 2000 - when Repsol YPF decided to modify its MTBE (metylterbutyleter) production installations the company has been using bioethanol as a substitute for the methanol that was used previously. The ETBE (etylterbutyleter) that is obtained is incorporated into the formulation of gasoline, which in turn combines the highest standards of quality with the use of renewable fuels.

By adding ETBE, Repsol YPF uses close to 140,000 tonnes per year of bioethanol, which makes it the European leader in the use of bioethanol, in the formulation of gasoline. Repsol YPF alone uses more bioethanol in its gasolines than the leading European countries with respect to this matter.

Once the ETBE via has been exhausted, limited by the availability of olefinic butane in its refineries, Repsol YPF is promoting the use of biodiesel in the making of gas oil as the most suitable way of implanting the European Directive regarding the use of biofuels, since, apart from its positive effect on the environment, it will contribute to reduce the European deficit on medium distillates, and which in Spain is more than 12 million tonnes per year.

On the other hand, and in keeping with its strategic position, Repsol YPF is leading a proposal for the CENIT research project to develop biodiesel in Spain. So far 16 companies and more than 20 institutions are taking part in this project.

Acciona, leader in the production of quality approved biodiesel

Acciona, apart from having an outstanding presence in the field of renewable energies for the production of electricity - such as wind, mini-hydraulic, biomass and solar - has worked since 2000 in obtaining biodiesel from raw vegetable oils. This biodiesel, that meets all the quality parameters as stated in the European norm (EN -14214), is produced at the Caparroso (Navarra) plant.

This plant is considered to be one of the most technologically advanced for its ability to process several different types of oils for producing biodiesel. Use tests carried out on this product in several types of vehicles have revealed performances and consumptions similar to those of the diesel, besides substantially reducing in polluting emissions into the atmosphere.

Acciona is also developing research projects in the agricultural field regarding energy crops with a view to improving their productivity, as well as for their contribution toward balancing energy and environmental needs. The company is also supporting the extension of colza crops to produce biodiesel.

Integrated project in León

As a part of the global project for producing biodiesel in Spain, the Cabreros del Río (León) plant is noteworthy for its innovation and integrated nature. Besides Repsol YPF and Acciona, IDAE (Instituto para la Diversificación y Ahorro de la Energía) might also take part in the project, as well as other local farming associations. The Unión Comercial de Ganaderos y Agricultores de León (UCOGAL) has already placed at the disposal of this project the required land to build the premises.

The plant will produce 100,000 tonnes per year, using seed and or colza and sunflower oils from local crops for the production. It is also possible that crude oil could be imported.

The site will be of an integrated nature, including all the processing stages, from growing energy seed to that of producing biofuel. It will have the following units: Seed Grinding and Oil Extraction, Refining of Crude Oil, Biodiesel, Auxiliary Services, Storage of the Process and Storage and Preparation of Seeds.

Besides producing biodiesel, it is also expected that this plant will generate around 140,000 tonnes of ecological by-products destined, for the most part, to be used in the fabrication of livestock feed.

 Antonio Brufau, Presidente Ejecutivo de Repsol YPF, y Jose Manuel Entrecanales, Presidente Ejecutivo de ACCIONA, tras la firma del acuerdo de producción de biodiesel