Developing sustainable biofuels

Vue d’une autoroute avec des voitures et des camions circulant. Promouvoir les biocarburants durables

Road transportation accounts for around 50% of the total demand for petroleum products and will still be using liquid fuels for many years to come. Renewable and low-carbon, biofuels are a vital resource to curb transportation-related emissions. We’ve been active in biofuels since the 1990s and are exploring all biomass conversion pathways that can be used to make biofuels. A producer for more than 20 years and a leading biofuels retailer in Europe, we have made this energy of the future a major focus of our strategy.

Expanding the use of biofuels to make transportation more sustainable

The commercial scale-up of biomass pathways lets us produce sustainable biofuels: ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE), which is blendable into gasoline, and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) for diesel.

HVO is a high-grade, fully renewably sourced biodiesel made from a wide variety of vegetable oils or waste oil, residues and animal fat. Adding it to fuel sharply reduces emissions of carbon, particulates and nitrogen oxide (NOx). There are no limits on how much HVO can be blended into fossil fuels, with no impact on engines.

As our project to repurpose the La Mède refinery shows, we are investing in this energy. The first world-class biorefinery in France and one of the biggest in Europe, La Mède will produce 500,000 tons of HVO biodiesel a year to meet the growing demand for biofuels.

La Mède: A Biorefinery Running Responsibly Sourced Feedstock

The La Mède biorefinery is designed to produce high-grade, environmentally responsible biodiesel. Some 60 to 70% of its HVO will be produced from crude vegetable oils (carinata, rapeseed, distiller corn, palm, sunflower, soybean) certified sustainable per European Union criteria. The remaining 30 to 40% will be made from circular economy products, such as waste, oils, byproducts from vegetable oil refining and animal fat.

In keeping with our ambition to become the responsible energy major, we have committed to:

  • Limit the use of crude palm oil as a feedstock at La Mède. The volume processed will be less than 50% of the oils used, or a maximum of 300,000 tons.
  • Promote a trusted sustainability certification label with the European Union, along the lines of the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) or any other equivalent certification recognized by the European Commission. To that end, a dedicated team has been set up to oversee compliance with sustainability criteria across the supply chain, making sure in particular that supplies are purchased from RSPO-certified producers (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).

Sustainable mobility: an array of solutions

Total is committed to developing a range of solutions to make transportation, from passenger cars to trucks, cleaner and more efficient. We are positioning ourselves in biogas, incorporating it into natural gas vehicle (NGV) fuel for trucks through our Clean Energy affiliate in the United States, and in hydrogen, for which we are deploying service stations in Germany through the H2 Mobility Germany joint venture.

Biojet, a more eco-friendly fuel

Promouvoir les biocarburants durables 2

Between now and 2030, the number of air passengers is likely to double from 3 billion to 6 billion per year. To combat climate change, the air transportation sector has set a goal of halving its net greenhouse gas emissions from the 2005 baseline by 2050.


Biojet fuel will help it get there. We have implemented a variety of air transportation measures meant to work together:

  • The Lab’line for the Future project. In 2016, it had Air France’s Paris-Toulouse shuttle to fly using biojet fuel at least once a week.
  • The use of biojet fuel for the flights to deliver Airbus models to Cathay Pacific and Air China.
  • The signature of green growth commitments with the Ministry of Ecology and Inclusive Transition and the Ministry of Transportation in France. The goal is to define the optimal conditions for producing and marketing clean fuels for air transportation in France.