TotalEnergies SE will more than double production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from its original 2020 plan as part of the operator’s Project Galaxie conversion of its former Grandpuits conventional refinery in northern France into a zero-crude industrial platform (OGJ Online, Sept. 28, 2020).
The company has reached final investment decision (FID) to increase SAF production at the Grandpuits platform to 285,000 tonnes/year (tpy), up from an originally planned target of 170,000 tpy announced in 2020, TotalEnergies said on June 7.
The new investment responds to the European Union’s (EU) recent mandate under the ReFuelEU deal for aviation fuel suppliers to ensure that all fuel made available to aircraft operators at EU airports contains a minimum 2% share of SAF from 2025, 6% by 2030, 20% by 2035, up to a maximum of 70% by 2050, according to TotalEnergies and separate Apr. 25-26, 2023, releases from the European Council and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
As part of its ongoing development of low-carbon energies at the repurposed zero-crude platform, TotalEnergies also confirmed it will proceed with construction of an 80-GWhr/year biomethane production unit (BPU) that will use a feedstock of organic waste from the Grandpuits biorefinery.
Equivalent to the annual demand of 16,000 people, biogas production from the planned BPU will prevent nearly 20,000 tpy of CO2 from Grandpuits, according to the operator.
“These new projects further strengthen the [Grandpuits] site’s conversion toward sustainability, decarbonization, and the circular economy," said Bernard Pinatel, TotalEnergies’ president of Refining & Chemicals.
Pinatel said Grandpuits’ plan to increase production of SAF—the most effective solution for immediately cutting CO2 emissions from air transport—will position the platform a major French supplier.
Upon unveiling the proposed SAF expansion and BPU projects, TotalEnergies also confirmed cancellation of a previously announced plan by TotalEnergies Corbion PLA BV—a 50-50 joint venture of Total and Corbion NV—to build Europe’s first polylactic acid, or polylactide (PLA), plant at Grandpuits (OGJ Online, Oct. 12, 2020).
Following a decision by Corbion not to pursue the estimated €200-million plant that was to be equally funded by the partners, the proposed 100,000-tpy PLA bioplastic production project will now be discontinued, TotalEnergies said.
TotalEnergies—which did not reveal budgets for the SAF or BPU projects—said that with these two new investments and others to come—that it will maintain all 250 jobs at Grandpuits in line with its September 2020 commitment.
TotalEnergies—which discontinued crude oil refining at Grandpuits in first-quarter 2021 and will cease storage of petroleum products at the site by late 2023—most recently said it remains on schedule to commission new units at Grandpuits in 2022-24 to reach full operation of the zero-crude platform by 2025 (OGJ Online, Nov. 23, 2022).
Supplying SAF to French aircraft operators since 2021, the operator also began producing SAF in early 2022 at its 253,000-b/d integrated Normandy refining and petrochemicals platform in Gonfreville l’Orcher, France (OGJ Online, Apr. 28, 2022).
The company previously said it is working on pilot units near its 227,000-b/d Leuna refinery in central Germany to make molecules that can be converted into methanol and SAF using green hydrogen and captured CO2 (OGJ Online, Sept. 19, 2022).