The association FuelsEurope, representing the European refining industry, expects to produce 30 million tonnes of low-carbon liquid fuels (eco-fuels) annually by 2035. This would mean a reduction in CO2 emissions with an estimated minimum of 100 million tonnes per year by that date, and emission neutrality by 2050 in Europe.
The European counterpart the Spanish Association of Oil Product Operators (AOP) has launched a plan to introduce these eco-friendly fuels into the transport sector.
In a statement, the AOP – made up of Repsol, Cepsa, BP, Galp, Saras and Eni – calls for “firm support” for the production and use of eco-fuels to increase the emission reduction effect that will be achieved by renewing the vehicle fleet. This is one of the key objectives of the Spanish government’s recently approved Plan to Promote the Automotive Industry towards Sustainable and Connected Mobility.
In this sense, the association stresses that Spain has one of the oldest automobile fleets in Europe, with an average age of 12.7 years for cars on the road. So replacing one of these vehicles with a new one means a saving of 30% in CO2 emissions.
Therefore AOP considers that with motors that are “much more efficient and eco-fuels emitting much less,” the reduction of GHG emissions will not depend only on the penetration of the electric car in the market.
AOP points out that the implementation of this strategy in Spain is estimated to involve “an investment of billions of euros.” This investment will be needed to transform the nine Spanish refineries and introduce new technologies and build new industrial plants for the production of eco-fuels. At the same time, oil will be replaced as an energy source by other raw materials, such as forest, urban or plastic waste.
To this effect, the AOP partners have already begun projects to increase the production of ecocombustibles. These include the synthetic fuel plant that Repsol-Petronor will build in Bilbao, the biorefinery in Gela (Sicily) in which Eni produces biofuels from waste, or BP’s project to supply fuel to Hamburg airport from green hydrogen.