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Work begins on the biggest bioethanol plant in Europe

January 15, 2003

Juan Vicente Herrera Campo, the president of the Regional Government of Castilla y León, Javier Benjumea Llorente, chairman of Abengoa and José Manuel Fernández Norniella, chairman of Ebro Puleva, today laid the foundation stone of the Biocarburantes de Castilla y León plant.

This plant, in which Abengoa and Ebro Puleva each have a 50% ownership interest, will be the biggest of its kind in Europe and will incorporate novel state-of-the-art technology. It will produce 200 million litres of ethanol a year, which will be used for blending with petrol.

The Biocarburantes de Castilla y León facility is also designed to produce 220,000 MT of high protein animal feed a year, 150,000 MT of CO2 for use in industry and 200,000 megawatt-hours of electricity.

This new bioethanol plant will create over 3000 new jobs (103 at the plant, 700 indirect jobs and 2500 in agriculture) and will play a decisive role in raising environmental protection standards. A total of 550,000 MT of cereals and 20,000 MT of biomass will be used each year as feedstock to be converted into bioethanol.

The Biocarburantes de Castilla y León plant will pioneer the use of biomass as feedstock, contributing, at the same time, to the disposal of forest and vegetable waste and to improving the quality of the environment.

Abengoa’s bioethanol operations

Abengoa is the second largest bioethanol producer in the world. It currently operates five facilities: two in Spain (the Cartagena plant producing 100 million litres a year and the Galicia plant producing 126 million litres) and three in the United States (Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico), together producing 322 million litres a year. It is also studying new projects to be implemented progressively in Spain and abroad.

Last September, the US Department of Energy (DOE) officially announced that it had awarded Abengoa the contract for an R&D project worth USD 35.4 million, half of which will be put up by the DOE and the other half by Abengoa, to develop novel biomass-derived process technology. In addition to making the process more economical, this technology will also increase the energy efficiency of ethanol production, making it more competitive in relation to fossil fuels.

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