Acelen Renewables gathers strategic partners for an innovative energy transition project

Unveiled during COP-28, the initiative aims to produce the first low-carbon intensity fuel derived from a Brazilian plant, the Macauba

Dubai, December 7, 2023 Acelen Renewables hosted an event on Thursday, December 7, at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, aiming to globally present its pioneering project that will propel Brazil a step forward in the global energy transition. Newly created and announced during COP-28, the company enters the market with investments exceeding $2.5 billion. The primary focus will be on the production of renewable fuels, Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), and Renewable Diesel, derived from the Macauba – a native Brazilian plant with high energy potential. The company is a subsidiary of Acelen and is sponsored by Mubadala Capital, a global asset management company.

At Thursday’s event, global authorities and leaders had the opportunity to closely explore Acelen Renováveis’ key initiatives towards the energy transition. Among the guests were Saled Alsuwaidi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to Brazil; Oscar Fahlgren, CIO of Mubadala Capital and head of Mubadala Capital in Brazil; Arthur Lira, President of the Chamber of Deputies; Pietro Mendes, National Secretary of Oil, Natural Gas, and Biofuels at the Ministry of Mines and Energy; Mauro Mendes, Governor of Mato Grosso; and Eduardo Sodré, Secretary of the Environment for Bahia.

To underscore the discussion on the future of the energy transition, the company invited renowned author Paul Polman, an international reference in sustainability in business, to deliver a lecture during the event. Polman was one of the key figures in developing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and currently collaborates with various companies to accelerate actions addressing climate change and inequality.

Throughout the ceremony, Acelen Renewables reiterated its commitment to supporting the planet in significantly reducing its CO2 emissions, integrating and supporting social and environmental development. “Alongside industry partners and players, the event marks a very important day for our company and for all those, like us, committed to developing actions that contribute to a greener future. We will produce in Brazil the fuel of the future, in a ‘fully sustainable’ project: economically, socially, and environmentally. Very pleased to say that Acelen Renewables is already part of the seed of the future,” commented Luiz de Mendonça, the company’s CEO.

“The society of the future is cooperative, and the future of power is to serve.” This phrase marked Paul Polman’s presence at the event, emphasizing that Brazil already has much to be proud of, with 92% of its energy coming from green energy sources, the largest share in the G20. “In 2022, the renewable energy sector employed 1.4 million people in Brazil, the largest in Latin America. Brazil continues to play a crucial role in biofuel technology as well, leading the way for over five decades and becoming the world’s second-largest biofuel producer,” praises Polman.

Polman emphasizes that for the planet to stay within the 1.5-degree limit, it is necessary to urgently reduce and eliminate the use of fossil fuels. “The magnitude of the crisis we face requires companies from all sectors to reconsider their business models, something challenging for corporations and countries. However, after meeting Acelen’s innovation team, I can say that my hope is confirmed. We have in our hands, with the macauba plant, a rapid potential for the well-being of the planet.”

Peter Eisner, Director of the German Fraunhofer Institute, explains that family farming in Brazil based on macauba can become a source of the country’s growth, especially if we consider local communities and native peoples. “It is very important to show that by investing in natural capital for energy transition, Brazil can grow faster and lift more people out of poverty more quickly. And that is possible,” he emphasizes.

“Deforestation has decreased in a relatively short period. It’s an economy that, with natural capital for energy transition, is becoming healthier, growing more than the rest of Latin America. And this project presented by Acelen values biodiversity, restores nature, and creates an economy around what is sustainable. We need more projects like these.”

Project Advances in Bahia and Minas Gerais

During COP-28, the company pledged to building the biorefinery in Bahia, and collaborate on establishing an innovation hub in the state, engaging local research institutions and universities. Thus, Acelen Renewables will work on the development of Macauba in Bahia and the revitalization of oil palm cultivation.

The location will be crucial for technological development and the training of small farmers in Bahia, with partnerships focused on family farming programs. Another important aspect is that the company will support the government of Bahia in mapping and identifying suitable areas for Macauba cultivation, with an emphasis on structuring agreements for the implementation of agro-industrial hubs in the region.

With the government of Minas Gerais, Acelen Renewables also announced the start of implementing a Center for Innovation and Agro-Industrial Technology (CITA), located in the city of Montes Claros. The Center will be a space for research, improvement, and development of Macauba. Consequently, the company will produce high-quality Macauba seeds and seedlings, enhancing the importance of the native plant in the energy transition process.

“The research and development of this Macauba seedling micropropagation protocol are unprecedented worldwide and represent a significant step for the production of a promising crop,” emphasized the CEO of Acelen Renewables.

Innovative Partnerships

Acelen Renewables seized the importance of COP-28 to promote the signing of several contracts with strategic partners.

On this occasion, several partnerships were established: with Honeywell, which will be the technology licensor and supplier of advanced engineering for the Ecofining TM unit for the production of renewable fuels; with ALFA LAVAL, responsible for developing and implementing the vegetable oil refining solution, and with AFRY, the selected company to carry out the basic engineering of the unit and provide consulting services to obtain the necessary Environmental Alteration License (LA) for the project.

About Macauba – a Brazilian plant with high oil productivity per hectare and highly competitive compared to other crops, it offers greater efficiency in water and nutrient use. As a native perennial species, it enables a range of environmental services such as conservation or even biodiversity recovery, as degraded areas are replaced by macauba forest systems. This allows for vegetation cover, conserving soil and its biota, contributing to water resource recovery, and serving as a food source for native birds and other animals. Its cultivation will follow the best agricultural and environmental practices, promoting carbon capture and reducing CO2 emissions from seed to fuel.