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Our circular economy projects

Producing fuels from urban waste

Producing fuels from urban waste

Long shot of the Petronor facilities

Thanks to innovation and technology, we can recover leftover energy from urban waste that has reached the end of its useful life in order to produce fuels. This is the main purpose of our plant designed to generate gas from urban waste, a project that enables us to continue promoting circular economy and not only close the loop for numerous products, but also bring about significant environmental benefits by substituting fossil fuels in our refineries with zero emissions fuels.

Any waste is capable of being converted into fuel

Waste contains energy, and with technology we can create processes that help us transform it into energy that be actually utilized. As such, through our project involving a plant for generating gas from urban waste, we can contribute to a circular economy model and make further progress in the energy transition towards a low-carbon future. Ultimately, waste that would usually end up in a landfill will be processed and transformed at this plant.

How does a plant for generating gas from urban waste work?

Pyrolisis plant diagram

Our plant for generating gas from urban waste will be located in the port of Bilbao in northern Spain. There, waste that has reached the end of its useful life will be transformed using a pyrolysis process, which consists in heating up waste at high temperatures without oxygen until it is transformed into gas. The extracted fuel will be used to substitute part of the traditional fuels that the Basque refinery, one of the largest in Spain, uses in its production process.

With this project, we keep promoting circular economy, which is applied to all phases of our Company's production cycle through technology and innovation. Once this plant is operational, it will process:
  • Recycled box icon
    10,000 tons of urban waste per year from landfills in the first stage
  • Recycled box icon
    100,000 tons a year in later stages, equivalent to the urban waste produced in the surrounding area

Circular benefits

From the beginning of the value chain, we are involved in managing the collection, selection, and sorting of waste for it to be ultimately transformed at our industrial assets. It is precisely during this last phase and in the industrial symbiosis where we add further value and help close the cycle of waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill. 

These are some of this project's benefits:

  • Give a second life to waste that would normally end up in a landfill, which in turn minimizes our environmental footprint throughout the entire management and treatment of this waste.
  • In later stages, the plant is expected to reuse up to 100,000 tons of waste that has reached its useful life, which would result in circular management of all waste from the Basque Country.
  • Minimize the environmental impact and carbon footprint of our industrial operations as the fossil fuels used at the refineries will be replaced by an alternative derived from waste – an environmentally-friendly solution.

Innovation as a key line of circular economy

  • Classification by key lines and value chain

    Our circular economy projects are aligned with the key lines of our strategy and are present throughout our entire value chain, from obtaining raw materials to commercializing products and services. In particular, our plan for generating fuels from urban waste corresponds to the following key lines:
    Classification by key lines and value chain

Find out more about our circular economy projects