30. Apr 2021
Spanish multi-energy company Repsol has announced that it will take part in the Ecoplanta project, a project that proposes to build a waste-to-chemicals plant in Tarragona, Spain.
Repsol will be collaborating with Montreal-based Enerkem and Agbar, a global expert in water and waste management, on the project, which will be carried out by the joint venture Ecoplanta Molecular Recycling Solutions.
The proposed plant will process around 400,000 tons of non-recyclable municipal solid waste from its surrounding regions and produce 220,000 tons of methanol. This methanol will be used as raw material to produce circular materials or advanced biofuels, contributing to avoid 200,000 tons of CO2 and reducing the waste that ends up in the landfill.
For Repsol, participation in the project represents a further step towards fulfilment of its ambition to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050.
The plant, the first of its kind in the Iberian Peninsula, will be co-managed by Repsol and Agbar, whilst Enerkem will be the key technological partner. The project’s final investment decision will be taken by the first quarter of 2022, but it has already obtained the Integrated Environmental Authorization and approval of the Environmental Impact Statement from the local authorities. The plant is projected to go into operation in 2025.
Repsol also operates a petrochemical industrial complex in Tarragona.
The plant will use gasification technology to transform municipal solid waste, a very complex process due to its heterogeneous nature, into high value-added products such as methanol. Enerkem is the owner of this patented, state-of-the-art technology, which will now be tested on an industrial scale, after a decade -long rigorous scale- up process from pilot to demonstration to commercial scale. Enerkem currently runs a commercial demonstration plant in Edmonton (Alberta, Canada), and has a new facility under construction in Varennes (Québec, Canada).
The project has now been selected to move into stage 2 of the European Union Innovation Fund, which focuses on highly innovative technologies and big flagship projects within Europe to bring on significant emission reductions.