Growing Renewables, in Particular Solar Energy and Biomass


Total Nuevas Engerias Chile – Sunpower

As part of its commitment to guaranteeing sustainable access to energy and meeting rising demand, Total has chosen to supplement fossil fuels with two energy resources of the future – solar power and biomass.

Global demand for energy will increase by more than 31% between 2010 and 2035. Over the same period, the production of renewable energies is expected to triple, rising to 6% of the global energy mix. The world will need all the energy available to accommodate this growth in demand, meaning both fossil fuels and renewables. By moving into solar power and biomass, Total has therefore made a commitment to clean, versatile and abundant energy sources that can supplement fossil fuels.

World No. 2 in Solar Power

In 2011, Total became the majority shareholder in SunPower, the world's no. 2 solar power company. The California-based affiliate is now the launch pad for the Group's solar business, with more than 7,000 employees and revenues of $2.6 billion in 2014. For over 30 years, SunPower has been developing high-efficiency photovoltaic technologies, including the world's highest performing solar panels, which have an efficiency rating of 21.5% compared with an average of 16% to 17% among competing brands. The company currently works along the entire photovoltaic solar value chain, developing rooftop solutions for residential and commercial buildings, as well as products and services for large-scale ground-based solar power plants.

Total is also a partner of Abu Dhabi's Shams 1, one of the biggest concentrated solar power plants in operation worldwide.

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Making a Name in Biomass

Biomass is more than just an abundant, versatile and easily storable source of energy. It is also the only renewable alternative to fossil fuels for liquid fuels such as biodiesel, biogasoline and biojet fuel, and for lubricants and chemicals including solvents and polymers.

Total first began producing biofuels in the 1990s and has since risen to become Europe's leading marketer. The Group is building France's first world-class biorefinery on the La Mède site, which is expected to produce 500,000 metric tons of biodiesel a year by 2017. At the same time, it has branched out into strategic research and development with the goal of reproducing biomass conversion processes on an industrial-scale, using biotechnologies for example. To assist its research, Total forms industrial partnerships with private and university laboratories and acquires stakes in start-ups.

Confronted with the challenges of climate change and rising demand for energy, Total has responded by making responsible use of energy resources the centerpiece of its strategy and by striving to develop a diversified energy mix.

What is Biomass?

The European Union defines biomass as the "biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues from biological origin from agriculture (including vegetal and animal substances), forestry and related industries including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste". This material can produce energy either directly through combustion of after one or more conversion procedures.

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We are committed to developing new energy sources