Repsol to develop two major decarbonisation projects in Spain

Jun 17, 2020
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Spain’s Repsol announced two decarbonisation projects that the company will undertake with the participation of prominent Spanish and international partners.

The facilities, to be located in the port of Bilbao and its surrounding area as a first option, will represent a combined initial investment of approximately 80 million euros.

Repsol’s CEO Josu Jon Imaz said: “These projects highlight the importance of maintaining technological neutrality in the search for the alternatives necessary for decarbonization, taking into account all possible technological solutions for achieving success in the fight against climate change, without prejudices, committing to those that contribute to reaching our goals in the most efficient and sustainable way possible and supporting our industry.”

The first project, in which 60 million euros will initially be invested, involves building one of the largest net zero emissions synthetic fuel production plants in the world, based on green hydrogen generated with renewable energy. The main feature of these new fuels is that they are produced using water and CO2 as the only raw materials. They can be used in the combustion engines that are currently installed in automobiles in Spain and the rest of the world, as well as in airplanes, trucks, and other machinery.

Repsol’s partners include Petronor, one of Spain’s principal industrial centres; and the Energy Agency of the Basque Government (EVE), a public-sector leader in the energy transition.

The facility, which will be fully operational within four years, will set a new benchmark in Europe thanks to the cutting-edge technology applied and the use of CO2 captured in the nearby Petronor refinery.

In the first phase, which will be scalable in a later commercial stage depending on the results obtained, 50 barrels of synthetic fuel will be produced per day, with net zero emissions of CO2 in the entire production cycle. Conceptual engineering will begin this year. Petronor is the only refinery in the Iberian Peninsula and one of few in Europe that has integrated the process of capture, storage, and use of CO2, and it is expected to be able to capture the CO2 directly from the air.

The second project, which will be located next to the first one, also with the port of Bilbao and its surrounding area as the priority option, will represent an initial investment of 20 million euros. Led by Petronor, it will consist of a plant for generation of gas from urban waste. The generated gas will be used to replace part of the traditional fuels that the Basque refinery, one of the largest in Spain, currently uses in its production process.

This second initiative aligns with Repsol’s strategy of promoting the circular economy which is applied in many phases of the company’s production cycle through technology and innovation. Repsol has already implemented over 200 projects in this area which it has identified as one of the key levers for achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

In its first stage, this pyrolysis plant will be able to process around 10,000 tons of urban waste a year, and its capacity could be increased in later stages to approximately 100,000 tons a year, equivalent to all the urban waste produced in the surrounding area.

“Spain must base its decarbonisation strategy on its technological and industrial capabilities. The production of green hydrogen and its combination with the capture and use of CO2 to produce net zero emissions fuels is part of Repsol’s industrial decarbonisation strategy. With this project, Spanish industry positions itself to be a relevant European player in reducing emissions,” said Repsol’s CEO.