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Petrobras concludes tests for renewable diesel production

In Brazil, state-owned oil and gas major Petróleo Brasileiro S.A (Petrobras) has announced that it has recently concluded tests on an industrial scale for the production of renewable diesel. Using soybean oil as feedstock, the new HVO fuel brings environmental and quality benefits, as it further reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improves engine performance compared to biodiesel from the same feedstock.

In Brazil, state-owned oil and gas major Petróleo Brasileiro S.A (Petrobras) has recently concluded industrial-scale renewable diesel production tests at its Presidente Getúlio Vargas Refinery in Araucária, Paraná (photo courtesy Petrobras).

The tests were carried out at the Presidente Getúlio Vargas Refinery (Repar), in Araucária, state of Paraná, where 2 million liters of soy oil was processed, which resulted in the production of around 40 million liters of diesel oil with renewable content. The results show that the tests were successful, with the adequate performance of the catalysts and operating units of the refinery and with a final high-quality fuel product that meets all necessary specifications.

However, to be sold in Brazil renewable diesel still depends on regulation by the National Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels Agency (ANP). Therefore the results will be reported to ANP as part of the regulatory approval process. Along with the existing biodiesel, the objective is to supply the portion of biofuel that must be blended with fossil diesel sold at the service stations.

Currently, biodiesel is blended with fossil diesel to at least 12 percent by fuel distributors and will be increased to a 15 percent minimum by 2023.

Renewable diesel is a more modern fuel with technological innovations that also bring benefits to the environment. The new fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions more than current biodiesel and constitutes one of the solutions to the decarbonization of road transport, allowing compliance with the environmental regulation of the National Council for the Environment (CONAMA) and the objectives of RenovaBio, said Anelise Lara, director of Refining and Natural Gas at Petrobras.

According to Petrobras, studies show that renewable diesel reduces GHG emissions by around 70 percent compared to petroleum-derived diesel and 15 percent more compared to biodiesel derived from the same vegetable oil feedstock.

Compared to biodiesel, the use of renewable diesel also improves the performance of engines, avoiding problems such as clogging of filters, pumps, and injectors. The renewable diesel produced by Petrobras does not contain glycerin or metallic contaminants; and its molecules are the same as those of mineral diesel making it a drop-in fuel with no technical blending restrictions.

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