Renewable energies

Pioneer in biofuels

As the producer of a biodiesel marketed under the Oleo100 and Diester® brands, Avril has been developing, for the last 20 years, products to replace a part of diesel, thus contributing to the energy transition in France and Europe.
A renewable fuel produced mainly from rapeseed oil, biodiesel has physicochemical characteristics close to that of diesel, allowing petroleum companies to mix them to provide fuel for diesel engines. Incorporated into diesel in a proportion of 8%, Diester® is distributed in all French service stations. Even though this first generation biofuel has now reached a stabilisation phase, its production is part of a comprehensive chain organisation that provides a number of benefits into the bargain.

Avril subsidiaries engaged in biofuel production: Saipol

REDUCING DEPENDENCY ON VEGETABLE PROTEINS

By increasing the areas of cultivated rapeseed, the biodiesel sector increases the production of oilseed meal, a by-product of the oilseed crushing process. Intended for livestock nutrition, this vegetable protein source reduces France's and Europe's dependency on soya. In addition, biodiesel offers outlets to 100,000 rapeseed producers, generates direct savings on diesel imports and provides thousands of non-relocatable jobs in regions.

DIESTER®, A “MADE IN FRANCE” INNOVATION, AN ASSET FOR FRENCH FARMERS

Diester®, a French innovation, was developed for the national market on land which, according to FranceAgriMer, represents less than 2% of the agricultural land in France - uncultivated land following the implementation of the 1992 CAP.

The boom in biofuels has made it possible to regain French sovereignty over plant proteins for animal feed, which has increased from 25% in the 1980s to 55% today.

Biodiesel represents 20,000 jobs in France, contributes 2 billion euros to the national GDP and allows an import saving of diesel and oil cake for animal feed of around 1.5 billion euros. euros (source: cabinet PwC).

OLEO100, THE FIRST ALTERNATIVE FUEL FOR HGVS

Intended for heavy goods vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes (trucks, coaches, buses, refuse collection vehicles, construction equipment, etc.), Oleo100 is the first B100 fuel (100% biofuel) that can be used as an immediate substitute for diesel by transport professionals who have their own tank. Made entirely from French rapeseed, Oleo100 is a pragmatic decarbonisation solution that reduces CO2 emissions from field to wheel by 60% and fine particle emissions by up to 80%, while remaining 100% renewable, biodegradable and non-hazardous to humans and the environment.

IMPROVING ALL ENERGY ASSESSMENTS

Another effect of the biodiesel sector is that a movement for the continuous improvement of energy performances follows on in its wake, benefiting the entire rapeseed and sunflower seed sector. Introduced in 2007, the aim of the "Démarche de Progrès" (initiative for progress) is to improve all environmental assessments from field to pump. After a diagnosis phase, farmers set up improvement plans for rapeseed-growing practices, designed to optimise their energy performance and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. 

This approach is going further with the launch of OleoZE, the digital platform for purchasing low-GHG seeds. It allows farmers to market their crops directly and benefit from an additional GHG bonus. It thus promotes sustainable agricultural practices that store carbon in the soil and reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

Meanwhile, an energy-saving and energy source diversification programme has been started up in the Group's factories. This relies mainly on biomass, like the Saipol plant in Bassens, where the boiler burns sunflower husks to provide the steam needed for production.

INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH FOR THE FUTURE

To prepare for future biomass-based renewable energies, Avril is exploring several avenues of research on the second-generation biofuels. Among these approaches, the Group is taking part in the BioTfueL research programme, which is developing a process chain for producing biodiesel and biokerosene using agricultural residues and forest waste (straw, wood, etc.). Avril also investigates the production of oil using the fermentation method