Trapil Adapting French Pipeline for Low-Carbon Fuel Transport

Trapil, a French refined product pipeline transport company, is strengthening its commitment to the energy transition by adapting one of its pipelines to facilitate transport of low-carbon liquid fuels such as bioethanol.

The pipeline is between the Basse-Seine and Paris regions. Bioethanol is the most widely used biofuel in the world and France is the leading European producer.

Produced from plant biomass, bioethanol incorporated into gasoline emits CO2 during combustion in engines that has already been removed from the atmosphere being captured and fixed by plants during their growth.

Driven by SP95-E10, the most sold gasoline in France, as well as by Superethanol-E85, bioethanol consumption is growing strongly. The increase will continue to rise due to the absence of particle emissions during combustion and to its contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions (1 million tons saved each year thanks to bioethanol produced in France).

The growth will lead to a significant increase in tank-trucks traffic between the production plants and the depots in the Paris region where fuel transporters come to refuel to supply service stations. This additional traffic increases the risks associated with the transport of hazardous materials, increases traffic congestion and worsens the carbon footprint of bioethanol.

To overcome these drawbacks, Trapil is studying the adaptation of one of its pipelines between Normandy - a bioethanol production or import area - and the main depots in the Paris suburb. Trapil will be able to transport this type of cargo safely, economically and with low CO2 emissions and allow it to be incorporated into the gasoline Blendstock for Oxygenate Blending in the depots it supplies.

Due to the characteristics of bioethanol, pumping it through pipelines not initially designed for it presents some challenges. Drawing on the experience already acquired by operators in the United States and Brazil, Trapil's teams are preparing the technical adaptations of the relevant sections of its Le HavreParis network, so that bioethanol can be transported alongside other liquid energy products.

Trapil will also be able to rely on its experience in transporting other biofuels, having been one of the very first pipeline operators to transport biodiesel (fatty acid methyl esters, hydrotreated vegetable oil). The reliable, safe and ecological transport of bioethanol by pipeline will contribute to the efforts made in favor of the environmental transition.

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