Exolum strengthens its commitment to the environment by developing decarbonisation, water saving and biodiversity protection projects

The company improves its energy efficiency, already meeting 32% of its energy needs in Spain with renewable energy

Exolum carries out initiatives aimed at minimising water consumption, as well as analysing and applying the best techniques available for its reuse

The company conducts biodiversity studies in the areas surrounding its infrastructures, and also participates in projects for the conservation of flora and fauna together with other organisations

Exolum continues to strengthen its actions in sustainability, decarbonisation and care for the environment based on the roadmap marked by its recently published ESG Master Plan, which brings forward by 10 years the company’s objective of becoming a Net Zero company.

For such purpose, the Group is currently implementing an ambitious strategy covering two main lines of action for the reduction of its carbon footprint. The first one entails the construction of new photovoltaic plants for its own energy consumption that allow the reduction of emissions. The company already has this type of facility at its plants in Mora (Toledo), Barcelona and Algeciras, and is currently building another three at its facilities in Huelva, Poblete and Arahal.

The second line consists of the long-term PPAs that Exolum maintains and which ensure the supply of 100% renewable energy. The result of all these measures is that in 2022 renewable energy consumption in Spain reached 32% of total electricity consumption.

Likewise, the company continues to develop other initiatives to reduce its emissions further, such as the incorporation of new technological developments and pipeline scheduling systems or the use of drag reducing agents in pipeline transport and algorithms for additive dosing in order to maximise the efficiency of pumping stations in the pipeline, thereby saving energy. In addition, the replacement of pumping equipment or the lighting at terminals with more efficient alternatives allows an increase in energy savings.

Responsible water use and environmental protection

Exolum performs a regular and systematic environmental assessment via its Environmental Management System, which is subjected to audits to identify the points for improvement. Furthermore, the initiatives for commitment to the principles of sustainable development of all of its activities are regularly monitored.

Some of the most relevant initiatives aim to minimise water consumption, as well as to analyse and apply the best techniques available for its reuse. In this regard, the company carried out a pilot project at the Gerona Facility for the recovery of water from the effluent system. The main purpose of this project is to reduce water consumption at facilities by reusing wastewater for other services.

For nearly 10 years, Exolum has been developing biodiversity studies in the areas surrounding its facilities based on the environmental and social responsibility that governs the company’s management. In 2022, these studies were conducted at the facilities in Cartagena, Santurce and Ziérbena – Bilbao Port. As part of this line of action, the different proposals resulting from these studies were assessed and prioritised to analyse their implementation.

With regard to diversity protection, the company has a Plan for Identification of High Consequence Areas (HCA) that identifies environmentally sensitive spots where a potential incident in the pipeline could have greater consequences for people and/or the environment. Recently, the Group updated these High Consequence Areas based on both the sensitivity of the environment and the risk of climate change, integrating these criteria in the company’s geographic information system.

It also conducted environmental studies to measure the integration of the pipelines that run through areas that are especially rich in biodiversity in conjunction with GREFA (Rehabilitation Group for Native Fauna and its Habitat). This alliance resulted, on the one hand, in the analysis of approximately 200 kilometres of protected natural areas where the pipelines are present. On the other hand, it led to the preservation of biodiversity and fauna though different collaboration projects, such as the conservation of the Montagu’s harrier and the lesser kestrel.

Exolum also participates in the Phy2Climate project, which is funded by the European Commission and controls the application of phytoremediation methods in land clean-up, in addition to analysing the generation of biofuel from crops grown on this land. In 2022, the first in-person meeting of project participants was held at Exolum’s facility in Tarragona.

The company is also committed to the implementation of more sustainable methods in land remediation by conducting studies with different methodologies. In this regard, a study was conducted in a segregated area of the remediation project at the facility of Tarragona, where bioremediation through bioaugmentation (addition of exogenous inoculants) and biostimulation (stimulation of existing bacteria) methods were compared, with good results being obtained in both cases.  

According to Javier Alonso, Exolum’s Global HSSE & Technology Lead: “At Exolum, we have a clear strategy based on the reduction of our carbon footprint and the preservation of the environment, as part of the commitments acquired in our latest and recently published ESG Master Plan. This sustainable ambition leads us to promote the conservation of flora, fauna and water resources and diversify our business activities by committing to and investing in new energy vectors, such as green hydrogen and biofuels.”