La Mède: A Multipurpose Facility for the Energies of Tomorrow


Location: Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, France
Operations: HVO biodiesel, biojet, Avgas and AdBlue production, logistics and storage hub, training center offering real facilities, solar farm
Capacity: 500,000 metric tons per year of HVO biodiesel

Start of production: July 2019

world-class biorefinery in France
La Mède, France
La Mède refinery in France

TotalEnergies’s La Mède facility is a powerhouse for the energy sources of tomorrow, which are set to drive growth for the Group and the local region.

Located in Châteauneuf-les-Martigues, near Marseille, France, the La Mède complex includes a biorefinery with a production capacity of 500,000 metric tons of renewable fuel per year, an AdBlue production plant, a logistics and storage hub, an industrial-scale training center and a solar farm.

Biofuels are fully renewable and an immediately available solution to cut carbon emissions from ground and air transportation. When produced from sustainable raw materials, as at La Mède, they emit at least 50% less carbon than fossil fuels.
Bernard Pinatel, President, Refining & Chemicals, TotalEnergies

France’s first world-class biorefinery

Biofuels are a source of renewable energy that contribute directly to combating climate change, guaranteeing at least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with fossil-based equivalents.

TotalEnergies’s La Mède biorefinery was designed to process all types of oil. As a result, its biofuel output is:

  • 60% to 70% produced from 100% sustainable vegetable oils (rapeseed, sunflower, palm, etc.).
  • 30% to 40% produced from reprocessed waste and residues (animal fats, used cooking oils, fatty acid distillates, etc.) taking a circular economy approach.

Our commitment

Since it started operations in July 2019, the La Mède biorefinery has demonstrated that it can process a wide variety of raw materials, from rapeseed and other vegetable oils, to waste sourced from the circular economy, such as used cooking oils and animal fats.

TotalEnergies has pledged to process each year:

  • No more than 450,000 metric tons of vegetable oils, including rapeseed, sunflower and palm oil.
  • A maximum of 300,000 metric tons of palm oil.
  • A growing share of waste and residues to support the circular economy, with a minimum of 25%.

Supplying sustainable raw materials

All oils purchased by TotalEnergies for La Mède meet the sustainability criteria set by the European Union.

An International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) sustainability certificate or similar, based on the mass balance system required by the European Union,* attests that the oils purchased for the La Mède biorefinery are compliant with sustainability criteria. This certificate confirms that every metric ton of oil processed by TotalEnergies at La Mède corresponds to one metric ton of oil produced in compliance with the European Union’s sustainability criteria.

The certificate is awarded if the oils meet the following sustainability and traceability criteria across the entire chain, from their origin to the refinery:

  • At least a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions compared with fossil fuels.
  • No plantations on land deforested after 2008.
  • Farming practices that protect biodiversity.
  • Respect for human rights.

Spotlight on ISCC mass balance certification

Compliance of purchased oils with sustainability criteria is attested by an International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) sustainability certificate or similar, based on the mass balance system required by the European Union.* This certificate confirms that every metric ton of oil purchased and processed by TotalEnergies corresponds to the production of one metric ton of oil in compliance with the European Union’s sustainability criteria.

The mass balance system requires information about the plantation and mills associated with sustainability certificates to be traceable. It makes it possible to accurately track the amount of oil certified as sustainable without requiring a specific supply chain to be set up.

* See Article 18, paragraph 1 of E.U. Directive 2009/28/EC of April 23, 2009 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources

TotalEnergies rounds out its palm oil certification with strengthened control measures regarding sustainability and respect for human rights.

  • TotalEnergies works with a limited number of responsible suppliers to ensure it can draw up improvement plans with them and oversee their implementation.
  • Suppliers are required to join the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)#, committing to contribute to the industry’s efforts to achieve sustainable palm oil.
  • Suppliers are also required to sign the Group’s Fundamental Principles of Purchasing and comply with its Code of Conduct.
  • A team is formed to oversee supplier sustainability checks, and a third-party expert commissioned to assess each shortlisted supplier’s respect for human rights.

TotalEnergies fosters constructive dialogue with its suppliers, certifying bodies, other energy industry companies, NGOs and technical experts to continuously improve the sustainability of its raw material purchases for the La Mède biorefinery.

# The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) is an organization that was created in 2004 by producers, manufacturers and NGOs who wanted to join forces in a responsible and sustainable approach to palm oil production.

TotalEnergies updates the list of plantations and mills associated with its sustainability certificates with every palm oil delivery.

A flexible, multimodal storage logistics hub

A new logistics and storage hub for diesel, gasoline, jet fuel and heating oil started operations in April 2017. With a capacity of 1.3 million cubic meters, it contributes to the activity of the Marseille Fos Port.

An AdBlue production plant

An AdBlue production plant with a capacity of 50,000 cubic meters per year has been set up on site. AdBlue is an additive that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions from diesel engines in trucks and passenger vehicles. 

Development of Avgas production

The La Mède biorefinery project includes plans to develop the production of Avgas (a fuel used in civil aviation) thanks to the continued operation of the existing reforming unit. TotalEnergies is France’s sole producer of Avgas.

The reforming unit will also enable us to continue to supply the local petrochemical industry and provide the necessary hydrogen to the biorefinery. 

An OLEUM training center 

The facility hosts TotalEnergies’s second OLEUM training center. Modeled after the center of the same name at our Flanders facility near Dunkirk in northern France, this training center for oil and petrochemicals industries is one of the world’s few such facilities based in a real industrial complex. The center will be able to train more than 2,000 people a year.

The La Mède OLEUM center will also provide a digital demonstration platform to trial Group digital projects under real operating conditions in TotalEnergies’s industrial environment.

A high-efficiency solar farm

In late 2017, a solar farm equipped with high-efficiency cells produced by the Group’s affiliate SunPower came on stream at the La Mède facility. It has a production capacity of 8 megawatts, enough to meet the energy needs of a city of 13,000 people.

The La Mède platform

A unique facility in France

TotalEnergies in France

Refining, chemicals and renewable energies

Our projects and facilities

Bioenergies: a natural and renewable energy source