January the 11th, 2024 – INA has begun a 40 million euro project in the continental Croatian town of Sisak.
As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, back in the spring of 2023, it was possible to read that, instead of focusing on the strategic project of constructing a biorefinery in Sisak, INA intended to focus on another valuable investment – a plant for the production of biogas and biomethane.
The value of that investment was estimated to stand at 40 million euros, and a couple of weeks ago, INA took the very first concrete step in this project’s regard. It submitted a request to the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development for an assessment of the need for an environmental impact assessment.
“In Sisak, INA is currently developing a biogas/biomethane production project mainly from agricultural residues. “It’s a sustainable project that is extremely important for INA, as well as for the continuation of the transformation of the industrial location in Sisak into a centre for renewable energy sources,” INA pointed out.
In addition to the procedure for determining the impact on the environment, this project is still in the phase of selecting a contractor for the design and construction of the plant. Obtaining the necessary internal approvals for the realisation of the project is also a hurdle yet to be overcome.
According to the documentation that was submitted to the Ministry of Economy, a plan for cooperation with raw material suppliers has already been determined in detail, namely with local farmers located within a radius of 50 kilometres from the Sisak refinery. The processing of biodegradable industrial waste is also planned.
165 tonnes of processing capacity
By processing such materials through the anaerobic digestion process, biogas and digestate will be produced, and the maximum processing capacity is expected to be around 165 tonnes per day. The produced biomethane will consist of 97 to 98 percent methane, and the digestate from the production will be able to be recycled or used as an environmentally friendly fertiliser for agriculture.
The largest Croatian oil company, INA, also noted that sufficient quantities of incoming raw materials for plant operation have already been identified, and a memorandum of understanding has been signed with potential suppliers for quantities that exceed what’s necessary. They also added that after the construction of the plant is approved, suppliers will be offered commercial contracts for the procurement of raw materials.
After the completion of the assessment process on the need for an environmental impact assessment, the next step would be to complete the process of selecting a partner for the construction of the plant. Then, work can officially begin at the location in Sisak.
INA is optimistic that they will be able to take all of the necessary steps during the year and start the construction of the plant, which will take between two and three years to complete. When it comes to the value of the investment, it is estimated at 40 million euros, as stated above.
At the same time, INA believes that the project of the biogas production plant will be co-financed with EU funds. Most of the costs would be provided for by the company itself, but they also pointed out that “for all of its green projects, including those for the location in Sisak, INA always examines the possibilities of external co-financing”. As such, they currently aren’t excluding the possibility of co-financing from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NPOO).
Hopes for NPOO financing
“In the case of obtaining approval for the Environmental Impact Assessment, INA plans to apply for the biogas production project to be co-financed as part of the NPOO,” claimed INA.
Co-financing through the Mechanism for Recovery and Resilience is considered necessary in INA’s opinion, so that the profitability of the project doesn’t end up being called into question. They added that it’s also an important factor in managing uncertainties when introducing new technologies, as well as managing the risk of product value.
“All processes involving the NPOO related to INA are ongoing and the public will be informed about them in a timely manner. In this sense, it’s important to emphasise the fact that INA wants to turn the industrial location in Sisak into its own centre for renewable sources and is working diligently to do so.” INA stated.