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Repsol produces first renewable hydrogen from biomethane in Cartagena

Spain-headed oil, gas, and multi-energy major Repsol S.A. (Repsol) have announced that it has produced renewable hydrogen from biomethane (aka renewable natural gas - RNG) at its Cartagena Industrial Complex for the first time. This renewable hydrogen was used to manufacture fuels with a low carbon footprint, such as gasoline, diesel, or kerosene for aviation. Some 10 tonnes of renewable hydrogen were produced from 500 MWh of biomethane.

Repsol is investing EUR 188 million in an advanced biofuels unit at its Cartagena refinery in Spain. The company has produced the first renewable hydrogen from biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) as feedstock (photo courtesy Repsol).

By using RNG Repsol is able to replace fossil natural gas to produce renewable hydrogen in its industrial complexes and thus decarbonize its processes and products. Repsol estimates that some 90 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions were avoided by using 500 MWh of RNG to produce renewable hydrogen at Cartagena.

The biomethane was obtained from urban solid waste and “is an example of the company’s commitment” to the circular economy and state-of-the-art technologies that transform waste into high-value-added products with a low carbon footprint.

These first industrial tests carried out by Repsol will also serve as an example for developing the Guarantees of Origin (GO) system for renewable gases which is to be implemented in Spain.

Transitioning to multi (renewable) energy hubs

Repsol is transforming its industrial complexes into multi-energy hubs capable of transforming waste and other renewable raw materials into products with a low, zero, or even a negative carbon footprint. Repsol uses energy efficiency, circular economy, renewable hydrogen, and carbon capture and utilization (CCU) technologies to achieve this.

Repsol has had a circular economy strategy in place since 2018. This has resulted in more than 230 initiatives and the ambition to use four million tonnes of waste annually by 2030 as raw material for its products.

In northern Spain, Repsol plans to build a plant to generate biogas from urban waste in the Port of Bilbao, near its Petronor Industrial Complex while in October 2020, the company announced the construction of Spain’s first advanced biofuels plant to be commissioned in 2023.

This will be located in Cartagena and will have an annual capacity of 250 000 tonnes of biofuels produced from waste for use in road transportation and aviation.

Become a leader in renewable hydrogen

Repsol is currently the leading producer and consumer of hydrogen in Spain, and it uses this gas regularly as a raw material in its industrial processes. The company has already announced its intention to become a market leader in the Iberian Peninsula by installing an electrolyzer capacity of 552 MW equivalent in 2025 and 1.9 GW in 2030.

It is already deploying a multitude of projects throughout the renewable hydrogen value chain. It is promoting the creation of large regional consortiums to promote major industrial projects, such as the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, the Hydrogen Valley Catalonia, the Hydrogen cluster in Castilla-La Mancha, and the renewable hydrogen hub around the Escombreras Valley in Cartagena.

On September 20, 2021, it announced that it will start up its first electrolyzer in Petronor, with a capacity of 2.5 MW, in 2022. In 2024, a 10 MW electrolyzer is scheduled to start up, also in the vicinity of Petronor, to serve the synthetic fuels plant that the company will build together with Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco).

In addition, Repsol plans to construct other electrolyzers at Petronor and Cartagena, each with a capacity of 100 MW, to supply its industrial complexes with renewable hydrogen

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