French energy major Total announced on Thursday it will convert its Grandpuits crude oil refinery to produce renewable diesel and bioplastics, Kallanish Energy reports.
Killing two birds with one stone, Total will shut down its crude refinery after a structural problem with a key pipeline reduced its operational rate to 70% of capacity. To resume refining operations at full capacity and maintain economic viability, a new pipeline would need to be installed at a cost of €600 ($698.1) million.
While the company is working towards its net-zero emissions ambition, converting the refinery in Seine-et-Marne proved to be the best option. The project is estimated to cost over €500 ($581.7) million.
From 2024, the facility will focus on four new industrial activities: production of biofuel for aviation, production of bioplastics, plastic recycling and the operation of two photovoltaic solar power plants.
“With the industrial repurposing of the Grandpuits refinery into a zero-crude platform focused on energies of the future connected with biomass and the circular economy, Total is demonstrating its commitment to the energy transition and reaffirming its ambition to achieve carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050,” said Bernard Pinatel, President of Total Refining & Chemicals.
Total said the transformational project will result in no layoffs, with early retirements and internal mobility. Of the 400 jobs at the Grandpuits platform and associated depot, 250 will be maintained after the conversion, the firm said.
The new units will process 400,000 tonnes per year of mostly animal fats from Europe and cooking oil, supplemented with other vegetable oils (excluding palm oil).
They will produce 170,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel; 120,000 tonnes of renewable diesel; and 50,000 tonnes of renewable naphtha, used to produce bioplastics.
“Biofuels that reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% compared to their fossil equivalents are one component of Total’s strategy for meeting the challenge of carbon neutrality,” the firm added.
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