The world’s first fuel 100% sustainable produced in Portugal, more specifically in the Sado estuary, next to the shipyards. Eco-Oil is its producer Eco-Green Power which in August 2022 received its guarantee certificate reduction of CO2 emissions at 99.75%.
The ratio is simple: for every ton of “clean” fuel that enters the market, one less ton of fossil fuel is used. In conversation with Líder, Nuno Matos, General Manager of the Portuguese PME, tells us about the company and how this clean energy is produced, with assumptions based on the Circular Economy.
How did Eco-Oil – Contaminated Water Treatment come about?
Eco-Oil was born in 2001, in the context of the treatment of polluted water, and due to the change of the Lisnave ship repair yard, from Lisbon to Setúbal. We are a small SME, with 21 employees. Because it is a very hazardous waste, the process is fully automated and therefore the structure is reduced. We bet a lot on automation and on the training of specialized personnel.
What does your activity consist of?
At our facilities we receive and treat hydrocarbon water, which comes from the ships to be repaired and which cannot have flammable or explosive residues in it. Of this matter, 85% is water and 15% hydrocarbons.
The water, after treatment, we return to the sea and the proof that our activity, highly regulated, does not disturb the environment is the community of Sado dolphins that visit us and come here to look for cuttlefish.
How did you end up producing Eco-Green Power fuel?
In 2012, hydrocarbons were considered a product rather than a residue, which opened up a market in direct competition with refinery fuels. We realize this potential and the opportunity for technological development of this waste. With a large investment, in collaboration with the Academy, we increased the quality of the fuel, with new applications, and from there we created, in 2019, Eco-Green Power. It is a fuel that completely replaces what comes out of a refinery, meaning that for every ton we put on the market we avoid a ton of fossil fuels.
With this brand, we identify opportunities within decarbonisation and Circular Economy (CE) assumptions and realize the need to certify this fuel as sustainable. And so, in August 2022, we were the first to be labeled sustainable and classified by ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification).
What are the advantages of this type of fuel?
There is a difference in the life cycle of a fossil fuel. As it is made from waste, this fuel has no carbon footprint as, by definition, waste does not incorporate CO2. When we applied to the ISCC, Eco-Green Power was the first fuel approved and guaranteed to reduce CO2 emissions by 99.75%. This is the great innovation.
Others will follow what we are doing, but Eco-Oil was the first company to spot the opportunity and certify the production process. We belong to Euroshore, the European organization for the treatment of marine waste, which brings together the main companies in this sector, and within this group, we are the only ones with our own fuel brand. In other countries, companies are more concerned with collecting this waste and this work continues to be done by us, as this is what fuels the process.
What are you looking forward to in 2023?
The period of 2022 was very disruptive in the energy sector, as for all companies, with increases in costs related to consumption. In our case, we had a serious problem of access to raw materials – these combustible residues disappeared from the center of Europe and about 90% of the fuel we produce is from imported raw material.
For 2023 we expect a quieter period, with new opportunities to import waste and an increase of about 30% in our fuel production based on environmental awareness and energy transition. This product has opened doors to new markets, with the potential to reach certain sectors, which is only possible because we are a “clean” fuel. Today we are the solution for certain industries, such as the textile sector, which, by consuming this energy, carbonizes and, even more so, does not have a carbon footprint.