Green project in Trzebinia produces fuel from used oils

ORLEN Południe, an ORLEN Group company, has launched a new facility at its Trzebinia refinery to produce biocomponents from used cooking oils and animal fats. UCO FAME will deliver 30,000 tonnes of second-generation esters and 7,000 tonnes of technical-grade glycerine annually. This green project is part of the ORLEN Group's strategy in the area of biofuels, enabling the replacement of fossil fuels with fuels made from waste materials. 

‘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. 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,’ says Daniel Obajtek, ORLEN’s CEO and President of the Management Board.

Construction of the UCO FAME production and distillation facility began in November 2021, with the Polish engineering firm AB Industry as the general contractor. The total cost of the project was about PLN 127.5 million.

The plant will produce 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. Their reuse in biofuel production will have a positive impact on the natural environment and will foster the advancement of circular economy. In accordance with the National Reduction Target, the project will contribute to a further decrease in carbon emissions in transport. Esters produced at the UCO FAME plant generate 83% less emissions than conventional diesel oil.

Second-generation esters from Trzebinia will be used as an additive for diesel fuel. Bio-components added to traditional transport fuels fuel play a role in diminishing our reliance on petroleum, thereby bolstering energy independence and augmenting the diversification of raw material sources for fuel production. 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.

ORLEN Południe stands as a leading producer of biofuels and bio-additives. 2021 saw the launch of Poland’s first and Europe’s largest green glycol unit at the company’s refinery in Trzebinia. ORLEN Południe has also invested in a pilot plant dedicated to the production of lactic acid using microorganisms. Furthermore, the company has been actively engaged in advancing the hydrogen technology. In June 2022, Poland’s first hydrogen hub was launched at the Trzebinia plant, supplying hydrogen fuel for Kraków’s public transport buses. In parallel, a new unit is being constructed at the Jedlicze refinery for the production of second-generation bioethanol from non-food raw materials, including mainly cereal straw, with a projected annual output of 150,000 tonnes of products. It will be the first plant of this type in Poland and the second one in Europe. Its annual capacity will be 25,000 tonnes of bioethanol used as a gasoline additive.