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Apical, Cepsa to build 2G biofuel plant in Europe
US$1.3 billion Singapore-Spain JV to produce 500,000 tonnes of SAF, renewable diesel
Tom King 26 Feb 2024

Apical, a vegetable oil processor and a member of the Singapore-headquartered RGE group of companies, has commenced construction of southern Europe’s largest second-generation (2G) biofuels plant with its joint venture (JV) partner Spanish multinational oil and gas company Cepsa.

Apical, through its renewable energy subsidiary Bio-Oils, will supply 2G feedstock (organic waste, such as agricultural waste and used cooking oils) to the new plant, addressing the industry challenge of accessing raw materials for sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.

The €1.2 billion (US$1.3 billion) facility, which is scheduled to commence production in 2026, will flexibly produce 500,000 tonnes of SAF and renewable diesel. The production capacity also prevents carbon-dioxide emissions of 3 million tonnes per year, the equivalent to keeping more than 600,000 standard passenger vehicles off the road annually.

Designed as a digitally native plant, the new 2G biofuels plant in southern Europe will incorporate artificial intelligence, internet of things and data analysis to maximize process efficiency and ensure the highest standards of safety and environmental protection.

In Asia, Apical is actively exploring similar partnerships with global oil majors to set up SAF facilities in the region to optimize supply and demand and scale up SAF adoption in an affordable manner to support Singapore’s plan for all outbound flights to use SAF from 2026.

“While SAF is set to be the driving force for decarbonization of the aviation sector, access to sustainably available feedstock remains a challenge for many countries,” says Pratheepan Karunagaran, Apical’s executive director. “As we continue to expand our global footprint and capacities, the availability of waste and residue is set to grow in tandem, enabling value-added partnerships to be forged for our waste stream to drive the production and adoption of SAF.”

Karunagaran also weighed in on the recent announcement by Singapore, which will require all outbound flights to use SAF by 2026, saying it is important to drive deeper industry collaboration to optimize supply and demand, and scale up SAF adoption in an affordable manner to benefit both consumers and airlines.

To help airlines manage the higher costs associated with SAF, Singapore will use a levy paid by consumers to centrally purchase SAF for use by airlines to help the city-state raise its SAF target from 1% in 2026 to 3% to 5% by 2030.

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