Press Release

ECB Group signs contract for the supply of sustainable raw material from Pongamia with Investancia for the biorefinery Omega Green

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2021
ECB Group signs contract for the supply of sustainable raw material from Pongamia with Investancia for the biorefinery Omega Green

ECB Group release

February 23, 2021 - ECB Group today signed a 30-year contract to purchase 300,000 tonnes per year of `reforestation oil` sourced from Pongamia trees from leading Dutch/Paraguayan agroforestry and research Group, Investancia. The deal is valid until 2055 and represents a significant advance in the global transition to green transport.

Investancia`s research and development (R&D) centre, located near Carmelo Peralta in the Paraguayan Chaco, is the largest dedicated site for the production of elite Pongamia trees in the world. Its current annual production capacity of 1 million trees will increase over the next 10 years to a total of 50 million trees, planted on 125,000 hectares. 

A report by MEO CarbonSolutions (part of ISCC - InternationalSustainability Et CarbonCertification) indicated that Pongamia oil is significantly lower in carbon intensity than other feedstocks 

\"We are extremely proud to partner with ECB Group`s strategic investment to establish the first major HVO/SPK refinery in the southern hemisphere.\" said Marcel van Heesewijk, CEO and founder of Investancia. 

\"Over the past year, we have been able to jointly develop plans to put South America, and more specifically Paraguay, on the map as the leading region for next generation green fuels, using feedstock generated by our certified reforestation activities in the Paraguayan Chaco. Our combined efforts have immediate and multiple impacts on climate change,\" he added. 

For Erasmo Carlos Battistella, CEO of ECBGroup, \"with this agreement to supply Pongamia oil, we seek to diversify the portfolio of raw materials for the operation of theOmega Green biorefinery with lower Carbon Intensity solutions between vegetable oil production crops\". 

According to him, \"this is a concrete and innovative decision in that direction, which in the medium term may reach a third of what we will consume as raw material for the production of Omega Green. The decision also already represents a direct positive impact for Paraguay`s economy by fostering agricultural production within a reforestation system that helps carbon sequestration\".

Pongamia oil will be used by ECB Group in its new biorefineryOmega Green, located in Villeta, Paraguay, near Asuncion. The group has already signed contracts with Shell Trading (US) and bp on a multi-year contract that will supply approximately 1 billion litres of renewable diesel and renewable aviation fuel per year. The contracts are scheduled to run from 2024-2029, totalling more than 4 billion litres of the products already on the market. 

Investancia began developing its feedstock from reforestation in 2014, with early genetic development support from US partner TERVIVA. Investancia`s Pongamia oil used in HVO production is low carbon, low indirect land use change (ILUC) and compliant with Europe`s Renewable Energy Directive and California`s Low Carbon Fuel Standards. The company`s first large-scale reforestation programmes began on 2,000 hectares of leased land. 

Investancia has import and environmental permits with the Ministries of Agriculture and Environment, MADES and SENAVE in Paraguay, where the trees are being planted. 

The impact of the Pongamia tree goes beyond the production of vegetable oil. The trees are highly sustainable and adaptable, require no fertilizers and are highly efficient in carbon removal. Each tree sequesters an average of 44kg of CO2 per year - the highest value of any oil production crop. The Pongamia meal from the oil extraction process is also high in protein and is destined as a raw material for animal feed production.

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