€22 Million Biofuel Plant to Open in Portugal
02.02.2024 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

February 02, 2024 [The Portugal News]- An industrial investment of 22 million euros from BioAdvance is about to be opened in Figueira da Foz, which will start with a production of 20 thousand tons per year and within “two to three years” will increase its capacity to 200 thousand tons per year, projecting the Portuguese manufacturer as one of the largest in Europe in the production of advanced biofuels.

 

The company co-founded and led by Paulo Gaspar initially planned an investment of 11 million euros, which received community support worth 3.5 million. However, the amount ended up doubling “with the progress of the works and the rearrangement [of the project] for the future increase in production”, explains the 46-year-old businessman to ECO.

Installed on a plot of 20 thousand square meters in the port expansion area of ​​the liquid bulk terminal, this is the largest private investment ever made in the Port of Figueira da Foz. Signed in September 2022 between the port administration (APFF) and the company based in Guia (Pombal), where it has a smaller factory with a capacity to reach 15 thousand tons, the concession contract involved desilting the pier to be able to receive larger ships.

For this new factory, which will operate on a continuous basis, BioAdvance hired 36 people, of which 18 are highly qualified (graduates and doctorates), who will join the 27 who work in the unit located in the neighbouring municipality, less than 40 kilometers away. With this increase in production and the location in a port area, it now has export capacity, predicting that sales abroad will weigh 60% to 70% in three years.

Last year, turnover fell to 31 million euros, compared to 33 million euros recorded in 2022 due to the drop in oil prices – “it affected revenue, but not in terms of margin”, says Paulo Gaspar. In the same period, that is, until 2026, it is estimated that sales will rise to a range between 150 and 200 million euros. The list of clients includes the world’s main oil companies, such as BP, Cepsa, Repsol, Galp, and Shell.

 

Reducing polluting emissions

To help reduce polluting emissions, Portugal has been incorporating a small proportion of biofuels into road fuels for more than a decade. Asked about the threat that hangs over the industry, believing that one day diesel and gasoline will no longer be burnt, Paulo Gaspar responds that this “is a utopia”, not envisaging that “within 20 years [he will] stop working due to lack of sales in the oil sector.

Regarding the idea that biofuels are still a kind of “ugly duckling” of the energy transition, with critics understanding that this solution prolongs the use of fossil fuels, the businessman counters that “it will always be necessary to treat this waste” and that BioAdvance “treats them and transforms them into a noble product”, which reduces the consumption of fossil fuel that “will always exist”.

On the other hand, biofuels increase the selling price of fuels to the public, and “this is the purest of truths”, he acknowledges. However, he comments that “the market is doing a common good – treating excess waste – and this will always be more expensive”. In this regard, Portuguese motorists suffer more, as they are in a peripheral European country. The thing is, according to Gaspar, “In the food sector of this industry, the reference market is Rotterdam and then there is the cost of transport to get here, which is incorporated into the prices”.

 

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