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St1 Norge and C2Biotrade to explore Colombian Carbon Farming concept

St1 Norge AS, a subsidiary of Finland-headed oil refiner and renewable energy producer St1 Nordic Oy has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with Colombia-based C2Biotrade SAS to explore the afforestation of low alternative land in Colombia. With "Carbon Farming", the aim is to biologically capture and store atmospheric carbon and at the same time produce biofuels with "remarkably high" greenhouse gas (GHG) savings.

St1 already operates dispersed ethanol plants producing advanced waste-based ethanol for transportation. One of the plants is integrated with the St1 refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden and uses bakery waste as feedstock.

According to a statement May 25, St1 is seeking a solution which both establishes a new sustainable biofuels supply chain to the Nordics and at the same time contributes to international afforestation activities.

C2Biotrade is a Colombian registered trade company under Norwegian ownership through the companies ResGrow AS and Prestige Colombia SAS. The company is looking to establish plant oil plantations on unfertile and low alternative land to capture carbon from the atmosphere and produce feedstock for the production of climate-friendly biofuels with a greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction of 134 percent compared to fossil fuels.

The Letter of Intent (LoI) sets out a framework for how to establish an off-take agreement that would enable an increase of biofuels supply to the Nordics in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way. When successful, the project would help to increase the employment levels in the region, and thereby contribute to the ongoing peace attained less than two years ago.

The goal of C2Biotrade is to plant 60 000 hectares of African palm which can yield up to 250 000 tonnes per annum of palm oil. The newly planted palm trees capture more atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) than the current grass, which explains the 134 percent reduction.

St1 is constantly working on replacing fossil fuels with renewable fuels, litre by litre. C2Biotrade’s efforts in the sustainable production of biofuels through the afforestation of low alternative land fits well with our ambition to increase the supply of sustainable biofuels, said Thomas Hansen, St1’s Director of Renewable Energy.

With the vision of being the leading producer and seller of “CO2-aware energy” in the Nordics, St1 says it invests “heavily” in the research, development and production of sustainable biofuels while also being committed to only selling sustainable, verified and traceable biofuels.

In parallel with our efforts to develop technology for the production of even more climate-friendly biofuels, we are passionately developing Carbon Farming. In other words, we are working on finding the most suitable method for biological carbon capture and storage through afforestation. C2Biotrade is a very interesting partner in this area, said Hansen.

C2Biotrade plants and operates socially and environmentally sustainable plantations on low alternative land on the natural savannah of the Altillanura region in the eastern part of Colombia.

We take the expressed interest of St1 to cooperate with us to provide climate-friendly renewable diesel as a vote of confidence both in us and our connected Colombian producers, and we look forward to developing this business together, said CEO of C2Biotrade, Henrik Wiig.

Although not a Member of the European Union (EU), Norway currently has a 10 percent biofuels mandate which will double in 2020. To reach the targets set for emission cuts in the transport sector, increased production of – and access to – sustainable feedstock is required.

According to St1, to reap the full potential of renewable biofuels requires a regulatory framework that incentivizes CO2 reduction.

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