The Repsol Foundation and the University of the Basque Country present their Classroom on Circular Economy

28.04.2022



The Repsol Foundation and the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) presented their new Energy Transition Classroom on circular economy throughout the industry value chain.

The Classroom presentation, held this morning at the Bizkaia Aretoa Auditorium at the UPV/EHU (Bilbao), was attended by the Repsol chairman, Antonio Brufau, the councillor for Economic Development, Sustainability, and the Environment at the Basque Government, Arantxa Tapia, and the rector of the University of the Basque Country, Eva Ferreira.

Brufau highlighted that “at Repsol, we understand circularity from a dual perspective: as a channel for the efficient use of waste and as a solution to decarbonisation”, he also spoke of how circularity contributes to reducing energy dependence.

And along these lines, he explained that "we articulate the circularity proposal through two types of platforms: on the one hand, low-carbon fuels and renewable gases with eight large projects integrated around our existing industrial units, and two distributed projects (National Network of Perseo Biotechnology) and, on the other hand, circular polymers with six projects integrated around existing industrial units

Eva Ferreira pointed out that “the circular economy is one of the most suggestive tools at our disposal to progress in structurally changing the energy system, a change we must face in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. The University of the Basque Country has first-rate research projects in this area, and creating this Classroom, together with the Repsol Foundation, will allow us to strengthen and encourage its development. The Classroom is also part of our company's commitment to the university collaborating with companies, and the productive and creative fabric of our society. We already have 30, and soon there will be more.”

Arantxa Tapia referred to the 2024 Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Plan as a roadmap to promote a more efficient economy, in terms of consuming raw materials, with the aim of reducing waste and optimising clean production: “We have set measurable goals. We aim to increase material productivity by 30%, increase the use of circular material by 10%, and reduce waste generation by 10%. In addition to R&D in developing new materials, new circular production models are being extended. Believing in the circular economy means establishing infrastructures for recovering waste, and preparing future generations for the great challenge of decarbonising the productive economy.”

The Classroom, led by Rikardo Mínguez, director of the Graphic Expression and Engineering Projects Department, and located at the Bilbao School of Engineering, has expert teachers and researchers from the Bizkaia Campus. The aim is to disseminate regenerative models in production cycles and establish links between the circular economy and the industry’s decarbonisation and dematerialisation. 
To do so, they will address various lines of work in the circular economy focussing on promoting eco-design, process efficiency and innovation, renewable energy, the use of alternative raw materials, and new consumption patterns.

The event was also attended by the executive managing director of the IHOBE (Public Society of Environmental Management of the Basque Government), Alexander Boto, as a speaker.

The session ended with the “Reuse of materials in the industry value chain” round table, where experts from both the public and private sectors took part: the executive managing director of PLASTIGAUR, Luis Artola Moneo; the manager of the Technological Area of Materials and Packaging at ITENE (Technological Institute of Packaging, Transport, and Logistics), Miriam Gallur; head of the Natural Resources Conservation Department at NEIKER (Basque Institute for Agricultural Research and Development), Olatz Unamunzaga; the coordinator of the Efficient and Sustainable Processes Area at AZTI (Marine and Food Science and Technology), Jaime Zufía, and the Innovation manager at Petronor, Elías Unzueta Echeita.

Education and Research Programs for the Energy Transition

The Repsol Foundation, as part of its strategy, has several education and research programs at leading universities to disseminate scientific knowledge in the field of energy transition.

As well as this new Education and Research Program with the University of the Basque Country, the network is made up of the University of Barcelona, focusing on CO₂ capture, use, and storage systems; the Polytechnic University of Madrid's Technical School of Industrial Engineering (ETSII-UPM), with which another Education and Research Program has been created focusing on mobility; and Comillas University-ICAI, that focuses on analysing the methods for achieving sustainable industry decarbonisation by using carbon footprint and life cycle analysis as tools; the University of Navarra’s School of Engineering (Tecnun), focused on the role of hydrogen as an energy vector.