The Canary Islands are leading the way towards revolutionizing the transportation sector with the region’s pioneering 100% renewable biorefinery, unparalleled nationally and in Europe – Biogreenfinery project. This groundbreaking initiative, backed by the Technological Institute of the Canary Islands (ITC), is set to transform the way we approach clean energy and sustainable mobility.
Biogreenfinery is an experimental biorefinery project, a new pilot plant for the production of biofuels, 100% renewable and self-sufficient that encompasses an area of 2,000 m² within the ITC premises in Pozo Izquierdo, southeast of the island of Gran Canaria. It will utilize existing infrastructure from two laboratories within the ITC’s Department of Renewable Energies: the BioenergyLab, where R&D activities related to energy biomass are currently conducted, and the SinergyLab, where activities related to the integration of renewable energies with hydrogen technologies and other energy storage options are carried out. Operating on a self-consumption basis and isolated from the grid, the facility utilizes a hybrid system comprising a wind-solar plant and an on-site biodiesel generator. This innovative setup provides the necessary renewable energy to produce green hydrogen, a crucial component in the synthesis of future synthetic fuels. The plant aims to explore hydrogen production for terrestrial transportation, including cars, buses, and other heavy vehicles. Additionally, it seeks to produce green ammonia for maritime transport and develop future biofuels such as synthetic kerosene for air transportation. These endeavors unfold within contexts where the existing gas facilities allow energy consumption modulation based on available renewable resources.
The ITC operates under the Department of Universities, Science, and Innovation of the Government of the Canary Islands, with the dual purpose of reducing the carbon footprint in transportation and promoting a promising energy industry for the development of the Archipelago and the creation of green jobs. Addressing the sustainable local production of clean transport fuel is one of the significant challenges championed by the ITC. The primary focus lies in producing green hydrogen for road mobility, and synthetic fuels for maritime and aerial navigation, sustainable production of clean transport fuel.
Migdalia Machín, the Counselor for Universities, Science, and Innovation of the Government of the Canary Islands, highlighted the pivotal role of scientific and technological knowledge generated by the ITC in the “promotion of strategic areas for socioeconomic valorization and the transfer of advanced technologies that enrich the productive fabric. This enables us to harness the strengths and leadership potential of the Archipelago.”
Beyond its environmental impact, the project holds immense socioeconomic value, offering benefits across various sectors. With an investment of €5.6 million, fully financed through the REACT-EU Fund under the European instrument Next Generation EU, Biogreenfinery is poised to shape the future of renewable energy in the Canary Islands.
Gonzalo Piernavieja, I+D Director of ITC, emphasized the investment efforts dedicated to making this project a reality.
[This research and experimentation platform aims to] reinforce our research and technological activities in the field of energy transition, focusing on next-generation synthetic fuels where renewable hydrogen plays a key role. It also seeks to validate new applications of renewable resources in mobility.Gonzalo Piernavieja, I+D Director of ITC
Furthermore, it will expedite the energy transition in the archipelago, bringing forth numerous social, economic, environmental, and diversification benefits for the region.
The plant is equipped with two electrolyzers with capacities of 1 kgH2/h and 3 kgH2/h, a nitrogen generator with a capacity of 4.2 kgN2/h, a HABER-BOSCH reactor, gas storage systems, a dispenser for hydrogen vehicle refueling, two hydrogen-powered cars, and a hydrogen fuel cell bus. The bus will be operated by the interurban transport company in Gran Canaria, GLOBAL.
These installations are supplemented by a standalone system for renewable energy production that powers the gas facilities. This includes a total photovoltaic capacity of 325 kW, a wind power capacity of 100 kW, a 100 kW/400 kWh battery bank, and a 200 kVA biodiesel generator.
This project represents a monumental achievement that will significantly contribute to decarbonizing the transportation sector in Canarias. As this innovative venture unfolds, it not only establishes the region as a leader in renewable energy but also paves the way for a greener, more sustainable future—one where innovation and environmental consciousness intersect harmoniously.