PETROBRAS is ready to produce renewable diesel from soy or other edible oils at commercial scale and will expand investments in the segment as soon as it is granted a sales permit, the company’s refining head, Anelise Lara, told reporters on Friday.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, as the company is formally known, is awaiting approval from Brazil’s oil regulator ANP, after the company concluded tests this month. Petrobras refined 2 million liters of soy oil in one of its Southern refineries, resulting in 40 million liters of renewable diesel.

“We’ve confirmed the technical viability of the technology,” Ms. Lara said.

The initiative is part of Petrobras’ climate strategy announced earlier this month, which includes a target to reduce by 16% the carbon intensity in the refining segment in the next five years.

Soy is currently the basis of more than 70% of the biodiesel produced in the country. The introduction of a new type of fuel that could affect soy demand is controversial within the industry.

Ms. Lara said that renewable diesel contains no contaminants, unlike biodiesel, and is therefore better for the environment.

But industry group Abiove, which represent biofuel producers, defends biodiesel, saying that it does not contain more contaminants.

Renewable diesel and biodiesel have different compositions, including percentages of soy oil. — Reuters