Total’s La Mède biorefinery starts up production

July 3, 2019 |

In France, Total has started up production at the La Mède biorefinery in southeastern France, with the first batches of biofuel coming off the line. It is the final step in converting a former oil refinery into a new energies complex. Launched in 2015, the project represents a capital expenditure of €275 million.

The La Mède complex now encompasses:

  • A biorefinery with a capacity of 500,000 tonnes of biofuel per year.
  • An 8-megawatt solar farm that can supply 13,000 people.
  • A unit to produce 50,000 cubic meters per year of AdBlue®, an additive that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from trucks.
  • A logistics and storage hub with a capacity of 1.3 million cubic meters per year.
  • A training center offering real facilities and able to host 2,500 learners a year.
  • Together, these new activities have maintained 250 direct jobs at La Mède.

As part of the site transformation, 65% of the orders to remodel the complex were awarded to local businesses, representing 800 jobs and €140 million in revenue. Total also invested €5 million in the economic development of the Fos-Etang de Berre region, notably by supporting initiatives to create jobs, attract industrial projects and support contractors. That’s five times as much as a typical revitalization agreement.

The biorefinery can produce 500,000 tonnes of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a premium biofuel. La Mède will produce both biodiesel and biojet fuel for the aviation industry. It was specifically designed to process all types of oil. Its biofuels will be made:

  • 60 to 70% from 100% sustainable vegetable oils (rapeseed, palm, sunflower, etc.).
  • 30 to 40% from treated waste (animal fats, cooking oil, residues, etc.) to promote a circular economy.

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