Location: Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, France
Operations: HVO biodiesel, biojet, Avgas and AdBlue production, logistics and storage hub, training center offering real facilities, solar farm
Capacity: 500,000 metric tons per year of HVO biodiesel
Start of production: July 2019
In 2015, Total announced plans to transform its La Mède refinery into a unique facility in France, dedicated to promising growth energies for the Group and the region.
Located in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, near Marseille, the La Mède complex hosts several operations: HVO biodiesel, biojet, Avgas and AdBlue production; a logistics and storage hub for petroleum products; a training center offering real facilities; and a solar farm.
The site has a production capacity of 500,000 metric tons of biofuel per year and is part of a comprehensive transformation project bringing together a variety of facilities:
France’s first world-class biorefinery
Biofuels are a source of renewable energy that contribute directly to combating climate change, guaranteeing at least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with fossil-based equivalents.
Total’s La Mède biorefinery was designed to process all types of oil. As a result, its biofuel output is:
- 60% to 70% produced from sustainable vegetable oils (rapeseed, sunflower, palm, etc.)
- 30% to 40% produced from reprocessed waste and residues (animal fats, used cooking oils, fatty acid distillates, etc.) taking a circular economy approach.
Since it started operations in July 2019, the La Mède refinery has demonstrated that it can process a wide variety of raw materials, from vegetable oils to residues such as used cooking oils, animal fats from abattoirs, acid oils from refining and paper industry waste.
Total has pledged to process no more than 300,000 metric tons of palm oil per year, representing less than half of the volume of raw materials used on site. This commitment was made possible thanks to the hard work carried out to develop and promote the use of products from the circular economy, particularly recycled animal fats, which could amount to at least 100,000 metric tons per year.
Total has also pledged to supply the La Mède biorefinery with 50,000 metric tons of French rapeseed.
Supplying sustainable raw materials
All oils purchased by Total for La Mède meet the sustainability criteria set by the European Union.
An International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) sustainability certificate or similar, based on the mass balance system required by the European Union,* attests that the oils purchased for the La Mède biorefinery are compliant with sustainability criteria. This certificate confirms that every metric ton of oil processed by Total at La Mède corresponds to one metric ton of oil produced in compliance with the European Union’s sustainability criteria.
The certificate is awarded if the oils meet the following sustainability and traceability criteria across the entire chain, from their origin to the refinery:
- At least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with fossil fuels.
- No plantations on land deforested after 2008.
- Farming practices that protect biodiversity.
- Respect for human rights.
Total rounds out its palm oil certification with strengthened control measures regarding sustainability and respect for human rights.
- Total works with a limited number of responsible suppliers to ensure it can draw up improvement plans with them and oversee their implementation.
- Suppliers are required to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)#, committing to contribute to the industry’s efforts to achieve sustainable palm oil.
- Suppliers are also required to sign the Group’s Fundamental Principles of Purchasing and comply with its Code of Conduct.
- A team is formed to oversee supplier sustainability checks, and a third-party expert commissioned to assess each shortlisted supplier’s respect for human rights.
Total fosters constructive dialogue with its suppliers, certifying bodies, other energy industry companies, NGOs and technical experts to continuously improve the sustainability of its raw material purchases for the La Mède biorefinery.
# The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an organization that was created in 2004 by producers, manufacturers and NGOs who wanted to join forces in a responsible and sustainable approach to palm oil production.
A flexible, multimodal storage logistics hub
An AdBlue production plant
An AdBlue production plant with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters per year has been set up on site. AdBlue is an additive that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines in trucks and passenger vehicles.
Development of Avgas production
The project includes plans to develop the production of Avgas (a fuel used in civil aviation) thanks to the continued operation of the existing reforming unit. Total is France’s sole producer of Avgas.
The reforming unit will also enable us to continue to supply the local petrochemical industry and provide the necessary hydrogen to the biorefinery.
An OLEUM training center
The facility hosts Total’s second OLEUM training center. Modeled after the center of the same name at our Flanders facility near Dunkirk in northern France, this training center for oil and petrochemicals industries is one of the world’s few such facilities based in a real industrial complex. The center will be able to train more than 2,000 people a year.
The La Mède OLEUM center will also provide a digital demonstration platform to trial Group digital projects under real operating conditions in Total’s industrial environment.
A high-efficiency solar farm
In late 2017, a solar farm equipped with high-efficiency cells produced by the Group’s affiliate SunPower came on stream at the La Mède facility. It has a production capacity of 8 megawatts, enough to meet the energy needs of a city of 13,000 people.