MOSCOW (MRC) -- Cepsa and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) have signed an agreement to research the viability of planting energy cover crops in different rural areas across Spain, said the company.
These crops are known as "cover crops" because they protect the soil from erosion between the main planting periods, and "energy crops" because they provide the organic matter needed to produce second-generation (2G) biofuels.
The objective of this collaboration, the first of its kind between the scientific institution and an energy company, is to conduct a technical and economic study of different parts of the country and determine where these crops could be planted. In addition to analyzing their viability, the study, which will last one year, will determine the most suitable types of crops for each area and their CO2 absorption capacity, identifying the most beneficial in environmental terms.
This will complement Cepsa's sources of raw materials to produce this type of biofuels, one of the industry's main challenges, while also promoting Spain's greater autonomy in terms of energy supply and independence. The CSIC's participation in this project is part of the organization's policy of transferring its research results in the private sector, the main way for public research to have a real impact on society. This initiative is led by the Green Horizon Interdisciplinary Thematic Platform and involves, from a multidisciplinary perspective, researchers from three CSIC centres: the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IAS), the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA) and the Instituto de la Grasa (IG).
The use of biofuels can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% compared to traditional fuels, making them a key element in enabling a fair energy transition and promoting the decarbonization of transportation, especially in sectors where electrification is complex, such as heavy road, air and maritime transportation. This agreement is in line with Cepsa's goal of leading 2G biofuels manufacturing in Spain and Portugal by 2030. The company will then have an production capacity of 2.5 M tonnes/y of biofuels, of which 800,000 tonnes will be sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), enough sustainable jet fuel to fly over the planet 2000 times.
As part of its 2030 Positive Motion strategy, the company is driving the development of an ecosystem focused on accelerating its own decarbonization and that of its customers, through the production of green molecules, mainly renewable hydrogen and 2G biofuels, to become a leader of the energy transition. In its strategic plan, the company has established a roadmap to cut its emissions, which places itself among the most ambitious companies in its sector. Specifically, in 2030, it will reduce its CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 55% and its carbon intensity index by 15-20%, with the objective of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. Cepsa wants to go beyond net zero and have a positive impact, adding value in the communities where it operates by enabling its customers and other stakeholders to move forward in the right direction.
We remind, Cepsa plans to nearly double its investments over the next three years to a total of 3.6 B euros (USD3.82 B), with more than half of that amount going to sustainable energy and mobility. It also posted a full-year net profit at current cost of supplies (CCS) of 790 MM euros for 2022, up sharply from the 310 MM euros reported in 2021. The planned investment increase of 93% for 2023-25 is from the previous three years, Cepsa said.