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Renewable energies play an important role, not only in the fight against climate change but also in ensuring the security of energy supply across the region. MOL is focusing on those areas which are closest to its core activities: production of geothermal energy and biofuels.
A joint venture company founded in July 2008, Central European Geothermal Energy (CEGE, 50% owned by MOL), is focusing on the development of geothermal power plant projects in Hungary and across the region. In very recent years the CEGE team has explored all national areas of geothermal potential and has analyzed available geological data. These investigations lead to the decision to carry out a pilot deep-geothermal power plant project. The main purpose of the project is to generate electricity (and produce heat) using only domestic, renewable energy sources. In general, the profitability of the renewable energy sector is significantly influenced by the regulatory environment. In the year 2011 the dominant regulatory factor was the Government decision of 29th June 2011 which stated that complex environmental impact and sensitivity analyses had been carried out in 4 areas and concession tenders would be announced. This announcement will enable the launch and effective implementation of CEGE’s geothermal strategy. Meanwhile, CEGE has taken further project development steps and has prepared its financial and geological models. It therefore looks forward to the publication of the geothermal concession tenders in the first part of 2012.
In line with European directions
Since 2007, MOL Group has been selling E5 gasoline (which is sulphur-free and contains a maximum of 5% bio-ethanol) and B5 diesel oil (which is sulphur-free and contains maximum of 5% bio-diesel) in every market where local legislation has made it possible.
In order to secure MOL Group’s demand for FAME, one of the biggest bio-diesel component production plants in the region was established in Leopoldov (Slovakia) and another was established at MOL’s Hungarian premises in Komárom (as subsidiary companies). The annual capacities of the new plants (150,000 tons p.a. in Komárom and 100,000 tons p.a. in Leopoldov) are significant even at a European scale. With both joint venture companies MOL owns a 25%+1 stock share. Rossi Biofuel Plc. (Komárom) started production in December 2007 and Meroco a.s. (Leopoldov) in March of 2008. The bio-diesel product is mainly transported by pipeline from Komárom to MOL Danube Refinery (Százhalombatta), which is more economic and environmentally friendly than using any other method of transportation and is also a unique solution from a technological perspective. In the bio-diesel plant of Rossi Biofuel Plc. the technology used allows the processing of used cooking oil in certain proportions. The resulting, properly-treated used cooking oil that is available is then converted to bio-diesel in our plant in Komárom.
Criteria for Sustainability
As a trading company (including its logistical network), MOL Plc. received ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) certification in August, 2012. This certificate confirms that the biofuels that are blended into the fossil fuels meet the strict sustainability criteria of the EU's Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and that biofuel-related activities are performed in full compliance with ISCC standards. ISCC was the first international certification system for verifying the sustainability and greenhouse gas savings of all kinds of biomass and bioenergy to be recognized by the European Commission.
To make our first generation biofuels more sustainable, we have undertaken different processes. These processes include steps to increase the amount of waste cooking oil processed and to integrate renewable energies into production. Using wastes as feedstock is the preferred process of the new Renewable Energy Directive, and can result in great reductions in GHG emissions in contrast to using clean vegetable oils for biodiesel production. However, our estimations show that integrating renewable energies into the production process can significantly increase the life cycle GHG emission of the produced biofuel. To alleviate this problem, we have started a pilot experiment to determine the biogas production potential of the organic sludge which comes from Rossi Biofuel. According to results, the biogas produced can cover the entire demand for natural gas of the bio-diesel plant and even more. The project is now in the basic engineering phase. The procurement processes for different biocomponent feedstocks are always in harmony with the EU regulations that are in force.
New generation biofuels
MOL’s goal here is to produce both second generation biofuels and quality biocomponent in a more economic and energy-efficient way from a wider range of feedstock. In order to hasten the production of second generation biodiesel, MOL has established a consortium and started a project - the ‘Jedlik Ányos’ project. The members of the consortium include some of the most important characters from Hungarian agricultural and academic life (private companies, universities and scientific institutions).
The main advantage of the technology under development (compared to the already known about first generation process) is that no significant quantity of by-product is produced and a wider range of commodities (vegetable oils of any origin, used cooking oils, animal fats) can be used to produce excellent quality biodiesel with a high cetan number, good oxidation stability and cold flow properties. Our first objective was met in 2009 as the new generation bio-diesel pilot facility proved successful. The next goal is to scale-up the technology.