Technological watch

La Mède: A Multipurpose Facility for the Energies of Tomorrow

Located in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, near Marseille, France, the La Mède complex includes a biorefinery with a production capacity of 500,000 metric tons of renewable diesel per year, an AdBlue production plant, a logistics and storage hub, an industrial-scale training center, a solar farm, a production unit for recycled fuels and a test platform for the production of microalgae.

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

“Biofuels are fully renewable and an immediately available solution to cut carbon emissions from ground and air transportation. When produced from sustainable raw materials, as at La Mède, they emit at least 50% less carbon than fossil fuels.”

Bernard Pinatel President, Refining & Chemicals, TotalEnergiesFrance’s first world-class biorefineryBiofuels 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.

The commitmentSince it started operations in July 2019, the La Mède biorefinery has demonstrated that it can process a wide variety of certified raw materials, from rapeseed and other vegetable oils, to waste sourced from the circular economy, such as used cooking oils and animal fats.

TotalEnergies has committed to cease sourcing certified palm oil and PFAD from 1 January 2023 and to limit the amount to 100.000 t/year in 2021 and 2022.

TotalEnergies also reserves an increasing share for resources from waste and residues in its supply plan.

As part of the update of the supply plan, the La Mède biorefinery will receive, within the limit of 650,000 tonnes/year :

  • a maximum of 450,000 tons/year of vegetable oils of all kinds, excluding palm oil, from 1 January 2023;
  • a minimum of 25% of resources from waste and residues, excluding PFAD from 1 January 2023.
Supplying sustainable raw materialsAll oils purchased by TotalEnergies 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 TotalEnergies 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.
Spotlight on ISCC mass balance certification

Compliance of purchased oils with sustainability criteria is attested by an International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) sustainability certificate or similar, based on the mass balance system required by the European Union.* This certificate confirms that every metric ton of oil purchased and processed by TotalEnergies corresponds to the production of one metric ton of oil in compliance with the European Union’s sustainability criteria.

The mass balance system requires information about the plantation and mills associated with sustainability certificates to be traceable. It makes it possible to accurately track the amount of oil certified as sustainable without requiring a specific supply chain to be set up.

* See Article 18, paragraph 1 of E.U. Directive 2009/28/EC of April 23, 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

Until the end of use of palm oil, TotalEnergies continues to round out its palm oil certification with strengthened control measures regarding sustainability and respect for human rights.

  • TotalEnergies 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 Company’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.
TotalEnergies 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.

Publication date: 07/07/2023

Author: Yago Destro de Oliveira

Bio-based News

This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

The website reflects only the author's view. The Commission is not responsible for any use thay may be made of the information it contains.
Last update: 2022-01-31