Brazil’s Acelen to invest $2.44 billion in renewable diesel business

(Reuters) – Mubadala Capital backed-Acelen will invest 12 billion reais ($2.44 billion) over 10 years to make “green” diesel and jet fuel in Brazil, starting in 2026, in a move that will place the company among global leaders in this segment, executives told Reuters.

The new biorefinery, which the energy company plans to begin building in January 2024, will have the capacity to produce 1 billion liters per year of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), a diesel-like fuel made without fossil resources that comes from vegetable oils and animal fat.

The project reinforces Brazil’s role as a strategic provider of renewable fuels, capitalizing on its abundant natural resources. Brazil already produces soy-based biodiesel and ethanol from sugar and corn.

Marcelo Cordaro, vice president of new business at Acelen, said the biorefinery will use the existing infrastructure at its Mataripe plant, including tankage and logistics, and the port terminal for the export of new fuels.

That unit, which accounts for 14% of Brazil’s oil refining capacity, was acquired from state-run Petroleo Brasileiro (PETR4.SA) by Mubadala in 2021.

Initially, soyoil will be the plant’s main raw material, potentially making Acelen Brazil’s largest individual buyer of that commodity. The plant will require up to 900,000 tonnes of soy oil per year. There should also initially be an additional annual consumption of 100,000 to 150,000 tonnes of corn oil and animal fat.

Acelen signed a memorandum of understanding in Abu Dhabi with the government of Bahia state on Saturday.

Initially, Acelen anticipates that all of its renewable fuel production will be exported, since there is still no regulation in the Brazilian market that makes domestic sales possible.

“We want to be a global player, we are starting to be big, we already have the competitiveness to operate abroad,” said Acelen’s vice-president of institutional relations, communication and ESG, Marcelo Lyra.

“Obviously, the Brazilian market is developing and starting to encourage this type of fuel, so logically for us it would be interesting to participate in it.”

($1 = 4.9150 reais)

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