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ORLEN launches facility for fuel production from used oils

Polish energy company ORLEN Group announced on Wednesday (4 October) that its subsidiary ORLEN Południe has launched a new facility “UCO FAME” at its Trzebinia refinery (southern Poland) to produce biocomponents from used cooking oils and animal fats.

The facility is expected to deliver 30,000 tonnes of second-generation esters and 7,000 tonnes of technical-grade glycerine annually, using 30,000 tonnes of feedstock in the form of used cooking oils and animal fats, which are waste from food processing.

“The ORLEN Group is investing in state-of-the-art solutions and technologies that will facilitate the dynamic development of the production of green alternative fuels. Their manufacturing process will utilise non-food raw materials, including waste, in line with the principles of circular economy. The first project of this type is the UCO FAME plant commissioned in Trzebinia, enabling conversion of used cooking oils into bio additives,” said Daniel Obajtek, ORLEN’s CEO and President of the Management Board.

The facility’s construction began in November 2021, with Polish engineering firm AB Industry as the general contractor. The total cost of the project was around 127.5 million zlotys (27.8 million euros).

“This investment marks yet another milestone in the process to transform ORLEN Południe into a modern biorefinery, bringing the ORLEN Group closer to the achievement of its strategic objectives. By 2030, the use of bio additives in the ORLEN Group will increase to about 3 million tonnes annually and will be an important business area for ORLEN,” Mr Obajtek added.

In line with Poland’s National Reduction Target, the project is estimated to contribute to a further decrease in carbon emissions in transport. Esters produced at the UCO FAME plant generate 83 per cent less emissions than conventional diesel oil, ORLEN noted in a press release.

Second-generation esters from Trzebinia will be used as an additive for diesel fuel, ORLEN said. Technical-grade glycerine, a by-product of the ester production process, may be used by Trzebinia plants to manufacture green propylene glycol, an environmentally safe product finding applications in the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and medical industries.

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