New biodiesel and biopower for Avril

Avril subsidiary, Saipol, has invested €28.5 million in biodiesel and biopower in Sete in the south of France

28 Oct, 2015

During a press conference at its Sète site, Saipol, an Avril Group subsidiary, presented the two new major industrial investments with a total value of €28.5 million.   This new biodiesel plant output of 100 000 t/year which makes the total biodiesel capacity of the Avril group to 1.7 million ton. 

“The rise in capacity follows a rise in blending levels in France to 8 percent. Even if it’s not the case today in all gas stations, we should stretch towards 8 percent in the coming months,”  Jean-Philippe Puig, Manager of SCA Avril, said.

The first investment of €13 million is a new esterification unit designed to refocus the activities of the site, which counts 87 employees, on the production of Diester biodiesel and rapeseed meal, both by-products of the crushing of protein-rich oilseed grain which is an important component of livestock feeds.

This investment has provided the site with a cutting-edge tool that will enable the processing each year of 600,000 tonnes of rapeseed grain and the production of 280,000 tonnes of biodiesel, 340,000 tonnes rapeseed meal and 28,000 tonnes of vegetable glycerine.

The site is well situated on the Mediterranean coast, and its activities are wholly integrated in Sète’s cutting-edge multimodal infrastructures; i.e. direct access to the A9 motorway, a branch rail line to the Saipol site that enables the transport of 4500 tonnes of goods, and direct connection to the grain terminal on the port.



The second investment of €15.5 million included €4.2 million in the form of a government grant under the “Biomass Heating for Industry, Agriculture and Services” call for projects (Biomasse Chaleur Industrie Agriculture Tertiaire, BCIAT) issued in 2012.

This has enabled the construction of a biomass boiler fuelled by hulls from the sunflower hulling plant at Bassens (Gironde) which opened in 2013, producing steam to process rapeseed grain into vegetable oils, oilseed meals and biodiesel. Started in 2014, work on the boiler was completed in early October 2015.

This new investment will enable a 90% reduction in the site’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, and a 75% reduction in its requirements for energy, which is now generated using renewable resources.

“Through these investments, we wish to reaffirm our regional roots and our trust in the future of a French biodiesel sector at the cutting edge of renewable energies in Europe”, declared Jean-Philippe Puig, Manager of SCA Avril.


About Saipol:

An Avril subsidiary and member of its Oilseeds Division, Saipol produces and sells in France its refined vegetable oils which are used for human foods, protein-rich oilseed meals for livestock feeds, biodiesel under the Diester® brand (which is incorporated at a rate of 8% in the fuel used by all French diesel vehicles) and vegetable glycerine that has numerous industrial applications.

About the Avril Group:

Set up in 1983 at the initiative of French farmers in order to assure the future of the vegetable oils and proteins sector, Avril has become a major industrial and financial group that is developing in France and internationally.  Present in sectors as diverse as human foods and animal feeds, renewable energies and chemistry, Avril owns a portfolio of strong brands that are leaders in their markets: Diester®, Sanders, Lesieur, Puget, Matines, Bunica, Taous, etc.

To fulfil its mission, Avril draws strength from its industrial activities organised in two clusters – the Oilseeds Division and the Animal Products Division – and from its financial arm, which operates through Sofiprotéol, its finance and development company.  

In 2014, the Avril Group achieved turnover worth €6.5 billion.  As at 31 March 2015, it counted 7200 employees working in 22 countries.