Circular Resource Management
TotalEnergies contributes to the circular economy at different points in the value chain: through our purchases, sales and production, as well as by managing our own waste.
The Company joined the Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) in 2022. This initiative launched by the World Economic Forum and currently hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) aims to speed up the transition to a more circular economy.
Over their lifecycle, biofuels emit less than 50% CO2 compared to their fossil equivalents (in accordance with European standards), making them a tool in the decarbonization of liquid fuels. The current production capacity is 500 kt per year, primarily from the La Mède in France. Our goal is to increase that to 2 Mt by 2025 and 5 Mt by 2030 in a sustainable way.
TotalEnergies has converted its La Mède refinery in France into a world-class biorefinery to achieve its ambition of becoming a leader in the biofuels market. The site now produces hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO, a precursor to renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel), bionaphtha (a precursor to renewable polymers) and bioLPG (renewable liquefied gas) for use in mobility or heating.
New generation biofuels
Today, more than 90% of the biofuels on the market are first generation, i.e., they are made from (virgin) vegetable oils or sugar. TotalEnergies is investing in advanced biofuels projects based on animal fat or used oils, thereby limiting the competition for and impact on arable land.
These advanced biofuels will add to the range of first-generation biofuels. Looking further ahead, TotalEnergies is investing in R&D on second and third-generation biofuels from microalgae, but they still pose numerous technological challenges.
Biogas, produced from the decomposition of organic waste, is a renewable gas consisting primarily of methane. Compatible with existing transportation and storage infrastructure, it has a key role to play in decarbonizing gas products and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by developing a circular economy. The Company aims to produce 2 TWh per year of biomethane starting in 2025, and over 20 TWh per year by 2030 worldwide.
Hydrogen acts as a bridge between a primary energy source and its end uses and doen’t generate any CO2 emissions during its lifecycle if its production process is decarbonized. The increase in the production of renewable electricity is creating opportunities to produce green hydrogen via electrolysis of water using decarbonized electricity. In addition, the development of carbon storage is paving the way for the development of blue hydrogen using natural gas.
The European Union's objectives of installing more than 40 GW of electrolyzers powered by renewable electricity to produce up to 10 Mt of renewable hydrogen a year by 2030 will help accelerate decarbonized hydrogen projects, particularly for industries where decarbonization and/or electrification are difficult.
We are working with our suppliers and partners to decarbonize all the hydrogen used in our European refineries by 2030. This represents a reduction in CO2 emissions of 3 Mt per year. Beyond that, our ambition is to pioneers in the mass production of clean and low-carbon hydrogen to meet the demand for hydrogen fuel as soon as the market takes off.
Our green hydrogen projects
TotalEnergies, working with Engie, is developing the MassHylia green hydrogen project at the La Mède biorefinery. It will mainly be powered by solar and wind farms with a capacity of almost 300 MW. The 125 MW electrolyzer will produce over 10,000 tons of green hydrogen a year, meeting the needs of the biorefinery and reducing its emissions by 140,000 t CO2 /year.
At the Zeeland refinery, we plan to capture the carbon from the steam methane reforming unit (SMR), which produces hydrogen from natural gas. We are also developing a 150 MW electrolyzer, which is intended to be connected to an offshore wind farm. In total, we have six ongoing projects in Europe.
Synthetic fuels or e-fuels
The production of synthetic fuels from renewable hydrogen and captured CO2 is a promising avenue for decarbonizing transportation. The rithm at which these synthetic fuels scale up will depend on the development of green hydrogen. Besides being low carbon themselves, they offer the considerable advantage of recycling CO2.
E-fuels are thus one of the solutions for achieving net carbon neutrality through technologies for capturing and using carbon. TotalEnergies is positioning itself in this market, in particular to help decarbonize the aviation industry through sustainable liquid fuels.
Bioplastics and recycled plastics
The circular economy for plastics is based on three axes:
- Mechanical recycling: is the most mature technology on the market. Mechanical recycling processes raw materials from waste sorting and collection centers and is suited to the needs of industries such as automobile manufacturing and construction. Our subsidiary, Synova, with a production capacity of 45 kt at the end of 2021, is involved in this part of the value chain. It aims to produce 100 kt from 2025.
- Chemical recycling: makes possible to process waste that cannot be recycled mechanically and to serve other markets, such as foodgrade plastics. Today, we produce chemically recycled polymers on our Anvers complex using TACoil produced by our partner, Plastic Energy, with which we have joined forces to build a production unit at Grandpuits. We have also partnered with Honeywell to promote the chemical recycling of plastics in Europe and the United States.
- Bioplastics: we provide our customers with biopolymers made partly by processing fillers of biological origin (vegetable oils or used cooking oils) currently transformed at the La Mède biorefinery (and soon at Grandpuits biorefinery), and partly from polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic based on starch or sugar, recyclable and bio-compostable, produced by our joint venture with Corbion today at the PLA Plant in Rayong (Thailand) and in future at the one under construction in Grandpuits (France). In 2021, we produced 60 kt of recycled and organic plastic. Our ambition is to produce 30% recycled and biopolymers by 2030, 1 million tons.
The agricultural raw materials used to make these products comply with sustainability and traceability requirements concerning carbon footprint, non-deforestation and good land use. We are committed to stopping palm oil supplies from 2023 and aim to increase the share of waste (waste oils and animal fats) to 50% by 2025. Our future zero-crude platform at Grandpuits will also produce biofuels.