The La Mède biorefinery is capable of producing 500,000 tonnes of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a premium biofuel


Image: La Mède biorefinery project represents a former oil refinery converted into a new energies complex. Photo courtesy of LEEROY Agency from Pixabay.

French integrated oil and gas company Total has announced the start of production at the La Mède biorefinery in south-eastern France.

The La Mède biorefinery project, which was developed with a capital expenditure of €275m (£246m), involved conversion of a former oil refinery into a new energies complex. The refinery project was launched in 2015 and the first batch of biofuel came off the line with the start-up.

La Mède biorefinery to produce 500,000 tonnes of HVO

The La Mède biorefinery is capable of producing 500,000 tonnes of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a premium biofuel.

The La Mède complex encompasses a biorefinery with 500,000 tonnes of biofuel per year capacity, an 8MW solar farm capable of supplying power to 13,000 people, and a unit to produce AdBlue, an additive used in trucks to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions, with an annual capacity of 50,000m3 .

In addition, the facility has a logistics and storage hub with a capacity of 1.3 million cubic meters per year, and a training centre capable of hosting 2,500 learners per annum.

The La Mède biorefinery has been designed to produce both biodiesel and biojet fuel for the aviation industry. Equipped to process all types of oil, the biofuels produced by the refinery include 60 to 70% from 100% sustainable vegetable oils and 30 to 40% from treated waste.

Total refining & chemicals president Bernard Pinatel said: “I’d like to thank the teams for all their hard work these last four years to convert our La Mède refinery. 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.”

Total said that the 65% of the orders to remodel the complex were awarded to local businesses, which resulted in creating 800 jobs and €140m (£125m) in revenue.

The company claims that it has also invested €5m (£4.4m) in the economic development of the Fos-Etang de Berre region.