Renfe Mercancías uses HVO on the Algeciras – Córdoba route

Renfe Mercancías uses HVO on the Algeciras – Córdoba route
© Renfe Mercancías

In cooperation with Maersk, the rail freight carrier successfully tested replacing diesel with hydrotreated vegetable oil on over 100 journeys in southern Spain.


Renfe Mercancías, Maersk and Cepsa have completed a successful trial of renewable fuels in Spanish rail transport. Over 15 weeks, Renfe locomotives utilised over 130 tons of HVO (renewable diesel) to cover 100 journeys between Algeciras and Córdoba. This section of the corridor connecting Algeciras and Madrid lacks electrification. Coupled with using renewable energy for the rest of the route, this initiative enabled the sustainable transport of more than 4,700 containers (TEU) and averted the emission of nearly 500 tons of CO2.

The trial demonstrated the engines' optimal performance, prompting Cepsa, Maersk, and Renfe to explore the possibility of further use of renewable diesel on this route and extending it to other non-electrified routes.

© Renfe Mercancías
© Renfe Mercancías

Produced by Cepsa at its La Rábida Energy Park in Huelva, this second-generation biofuel, derived from used cooking oils, replaces conventional diesel without requiring engine modifications. Compared to traditional fuels, it can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 90% throughout its life cycle. Additionally, it promotes the circular economy by repurposing waste for production.

Maersk has set a target to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 across all business areas, including land-based logistics activities such as rail transport. Renfe Mercancías is actively contributing to the decarbonisation of transportation and increasing its use of electric locomotives powered by renewable energy.

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