Total advances Grandpuits refinery renewable fuels project

Nov. 13, 2020
Total SA has let a contract to Honeywell UOP LLC to license process technology for a new renewable fuel production plant to be built as part of the operator’s repurposing project at its Grandpuits refinery at Seine-et-Marne in northern France.

Total SA has let a contract to Honeywell UOP LLC to license process technology for a new renewable fuel production plant to be built as part of the operator’s recently announced repurposing project at its 101,000-b/d Grandpuits refinery at Seine-et-Marne near Melun in northern France, which aims to convert the site into a zero-crude industrial platform by 2024 (OGJ Online, Sept. 28, 2020).

As part of the contract, Honeywell UOP will license its proprietary UOP Ecofining process technology primarily for the new biorefinery’s production of renewable jet fuels that will help meet France’s objective of incrementally replacing fossil-based jet fuel with sustainable aviation fuels as part of the country’s broader commitment of addressing climate change through 2050, the service provider said on Nov. 13.

Alongside technology licensing, Honeywell UOP will deliver basic engineering, specialty equipment, and catalysts for the project.

Scheduled for startup in 2024, the new biorefinery will process 400,000 tonnes/year of mostly animal fats from Europe and used cooking oil—supplemented with other vegetable oils like rapeseed but excluding palm oil—primarily from local suppliers to produce the following:

  • 170,000 tpy of sustainable aviation fuel.
  • 120,000 tpy of renewable diesel.
  • 50,000 tpy of renewable naphtha for production of bioplastics.

Honeywell UOP did not reveal a value of the contract.

Production of biofuels—which reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% compared to their fossil equivalents—forms part of Total’s overall net-zero strategy to meet carbon neutrality, as well as France’s roadmap for incorporating 2% of sustainable aviation fuel by 2025, 5% by 2030, and 50% by 2050, the operator said upon announcing the project in September.

In addition to the new biorefinery, Total’s more than €500 million conversion of Grandpuits site into a zero-crude industrial platform—which also includes operations at nearby Gargenville depot at Yvelines—will include construction of Europe’s first polylactic acid, or polylactide (PLA), manufacturing plant, as well as construction of two photovoltaic solar plants.

Total—which will discontinue crude oil refining and storage of petroleum products in first-quarter 2021 and late 2023, respectively—previously said local consumers and airports in the Greater Paris region will not be impacted, as they will remain supplied by Total’s existing 219,000-b/d Donges refinery near Saint Nazaire—which is currently undergoing a €450 million modernization—and 253,000-b/d Normandy-Gonfreville ‘l Orcher refinery (OGJ Online, Aug. 7, 2017).

The Grandpuits conversion project follows Total €275-million conversion of its former 153,000-b/d at  La  Mède refinery on the French Riviera into France’s first biorefinery, which the operator commissioned in mid-2019  (OGJ Online, Apr. 16, 2015).