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TotalEnergies and Veolia partner to develop CO2-based microalgae cultivation to produce next-generation biofuels

TotalEnergies and Veolia are partnering to accelerate the development of microalgae cultivation using CO2. The two will pool their know-how to develop a four-year research project at the La Mède biorefinery, operated by TotalEnergies, with the long-term goal of producing biofuel.

Microalgae use sunlight and CO2 from the atmosphere or from industrial processes to grow. When mature, they can be transformed into next-generation biofuels with low carbon intensity. As part of the project, a test platform will be set up to compare different innovative systems for growing microalgae and identify the most efficient ones.

Veolia will bring its expertise in the water sector to optimize management of the microalgae’s aquatic environment and the development of algal biomass as an effective solution for CO2 capture.

TotalEnergies, in synergy with the business lines at the La Mède site, will bring its expertise in the cultivation and refining of biomass to produce advanced biofuels, as well as CO2 capture and utilization technologies.

Ecoslops unit at La Mède for the production of recycled fuel. Separately, TotalEnergies and Ecoslops announced the startup of the Ecoslops P2R1 unit at La Mède platform in Bouches-du-Rhône, France. The production of the first liters of recycled fuel consolidates the agreement signed in 2019 between TotalEnergies and Ecoslops SA2, a company that produces fuel and light bitumen from “slops” (hydrocarbon residues such as bilges) from maritime transport.

The Ecoslops unit will produce, from these residues, up to 30,000 tons per year of recycled fuel (Naphtha, Gasoil and Fuel oil) and light bitumen. This circular business model, applied to petroleum waste, allows the revalorization of these residues from maritime transport, and the creation of value locally.

n 2019, the La Mède platform became the site of France’s first world-class biorefinery with an investment of €275 million. It will produce 500,000 tons of biodiesel each year.

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