Launched in 2015, the first batches of biofuel coming off the line represent the final step in the €275 million investment by Total to turn the former oil refinery into a new energies complex.
Following the conversion, the complex now encompasses a biorefinery with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes of biofuel per year, in addition to an eight-megawatt solar farm capable of supplying 13,000 people. La Mède will also incorporate a unit to produce 50,000 cubic meters per year of ‘AdBlue’, an additive that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from trucks, a logistics and storage hub with a capacity of 1.3 million cubic meters per year and a training centre able to host 2,500 students/delegates a year.
Collectively, these new activities will provide 250 jobs at the biorefinery. This is in addition to the 800 jobs created by the site’s transformation, with 65% of the orders to remodel the complex awarded to local businesses, resulting in €140 million in revenue.
In addition to this, Total has invested €5 million in the economic development of the Fos-Etang de Berre region, supporting initiatives to create jobs, attract industrial projects and support contractors. This is five times the amount of a typical revitalization agreement.
The project is part of Total’s commitment to the second generation, or advanced, biofuel. In the last decade, Total has spent more than €500 million on advanced biofuel R&D. The ambition is for these second-generation solutions to supplement, rather than replace, the first generation biofuels in order to support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
All the oils processed will be certified sustainable to European Union standards. In addition, as part of its palm oil procurement process, Total is taking an extra step by introducing strengthened control of sustainability and respect for Human Rights.
“I’d like to thank the teams for all their hard work these last four years to convert our La Mède refinery,” said Bernard Pinatel, President, Refining & Chemicals. “Biofuels are fully renewable and an immediately available solution to cut carbon emissions from ground and air transportation. When produced from sustainable raw materials, as at La Mède, they emit over 50% less carbon than fossil fuels. Our biorefinery will allow us to make biofuels in France that were previously imported.”
More information here.