What are biofuels?

At the forefront of biofuel development

Biofuels are fuels derived from organic sources such as biomass and organic waste. They represent one of the main solutions for quickly and efficiently reducing emissions from mobility in the coming years.

They’re already part of our daily lives. The fuel supplied at our service stations already contains more than 10% fuel of renewable origin, in compliance with current regulations.

In line with our commitment to become a net zero company by 2050, we develop and produce biofuels using different industrial processes.



incorporating biofuels into our fuels.

Net zero


compared to other fuels.

3.7 Mt

of CO2

in emissions reduction in transport in Spain in 2023.


t/year starting in 2023

in biofuel production in Cartagena.

What are the advantages of these fuels?

Renewable fuels such as biofuels can be used in existing combustion engine vehicles, taking advantage of existing distribution and refueling infrastructures. They already represent a sustainable mobility alternative for all transport segments. Especially aviation, maritime, and heavy-duty transportation, which currently do not have a viable alternative through electrification.

With their use we can limit CO2 emissions since the CO2 released in their use is equal to the CO2 that has been previously removed from the atmosphere by the raw material used for their production, which makes them emission-reducing fuels. They expand the range of low-emission mobility technologies and allow us to increase the pace of decarbonization without relying solely on renewing the fleet with electric vehicles. They allow consumers to choose the ones that best suit their needs and start reducing their emissions immediately.

Their production and distribution can be carried out using existing industrial facilities. Therefore, the manufacture of biofuels represents an enormous opportunity for the growth of industrial activity, contributing to the technological development of the sector and generating quality employment. Biofuels will be key to boosting the development of the circular economy in Spain, creating new jobs in rural areas.

They also allow us to diversify the country's energy mix. Their production is a guarantee for security of supply and energy independence, since they can be manufactured locally and with autochthonous raw materials.

Low-carbon footprint fuels - PDF (2.5 MB) >

How are biofuels produced?

Biofuels are obtained by transforming biomass, an organic material that comes from plants and animals. This is done using mechanical, thermochemical, and biological processes, and depending on the origins of the raw material used to make the biofuels and the processes used, they can be classified as follows: 

  • First-generation biofuels: consists of fuels obtained from food crops. First-generation biofuels are a transition fuel, a bridge to biofuels. Their use will be progressively limited, but in the meantime they meet the sustainability and carbon footprint reduction criteria established by the European Renewable Energy Directive and their entire value chain is certified. Examples of these biofuels are those created from vegetable oils, such as bioethanol and biodiesel.
  • Second-generation or biofuels: are those that come from organic wastes that are not destined for or compete with food, from the agri-food and forestry industries, used cooking oils and the organic matter from urban wastes. The use of these wastes favors the reuse of resources and reduces the arrival of waste at landfills. These include renewable diesel (HVO), sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), biogas, and biomethane.
  • Third-generation biofuels: these fuels are extracted from algae and aquatic plants with a natural oil content of at least 50 %. The production of this biofuel has not yet been carried out on a commercial scale.
  • Fourth-generation biofuels: the fourth generation goes a step further and seeks to genetically modify microorganisms to improve the efficiency of CO₂ capture and storage. These biofuels are also not commercialized at the moment, although there are pilot plants in Brazil and the United States.

Types of biofuels

Biofuels can be found in different states: solid, liquid, or gaseous. These are currently the most commonly used biofuels:

  1. Biodiesel:
    Biodiesel is a renewable and sustainable fuel produced from biological sources, such as vegetable oils and animal fats. It is often obtained through a process called transesterification, in which the triglycerides present in the oils are transformed into methyl or ethyl esters, which are the main components of biodiesel.
  2. Renewable diesel (HVO):
    This biofuel, which usually comes from used cooking oil, can be used as a complement to traditional fuel. In fact, some cars and trucks already use this renewable fuel. The benefits of this hydrotreated vegetable oil are that it is more efficient and sustainable by transforming organic waste into fuel, and greenhouse gas emissions are lower than those of traditional fuel.
  3. Biogas:
    Biogas is a type of renewable gas formed by the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter, such as agricultural waste, manure, food waste, and sewage. This natural process releases methane and carbon dioxide, with methane being the main component of biogas. Its use contributes to closing the organic waste cycle and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.
  4. Bioethanol: 
    Bioethanol is a type of biofuel obtained through the fermentation of materials rich in sugars or starches, such as corn, sugar cane, sugar beet, and other food crops. This process converts the sugars present in these materials into ethanol, which is the main component of bioethanol. Bioethanol is widely used as an additive in conventional gasoline.
  5. Biobutanol:
    Biobutanol is a type of biofuel obtained through the fermentation of organic materials, such as energy crops, agricultural waste, or even forest waste. Unlike bioethanol, biobutanol is a longer-chain alcohol, which gives it unique properties and advantages compared to other biofuels. It can be stored and transported more easily due to its higher energy density.
  6. Biomethane:
    A sustainable alternative to natural gas, it is known as the renewable gas whose origin comes from biogas. Unlike biogas, biomethane is purer, so it can be mixed with convectional gas and used to generate electricity and heat, as well as to power vehicles.

Spain's first biofuels plant