Eni opens its 2nd large-scale renewable diesel facility in Italy

By Ron Kotrba | September 26, 2019

Eni announced Sept. 25 it has opened its new, innovative renewable diesel production facility in Gela, Italy. The plant, a converted oil refinery, has a processing capacity of up to 750,000 metric tons a year.

“All the petrochemical plants built in Gela since 1962 have closed down,” the company stated. “In addition to the €294 million that has been spent so far on reconverting the refineries, Eni plans to invest another €73 million for further preliminary activities and pretreating biomass, which will be finished by the third quarter of 2020 and will supply the biorefinery with second-generation raw material, from waste, raw vegetable oil and advanced material.”

Using the Ecofining process developed jointly by Eni and Honeywell’s UOP, the plant will hydrotreat increasing quantities of used cooking oil, animal fat, other byproducts and even algae into renewable diesel that, when added to diesel fuel in a 15 percent blend, is known as Eni Diesel+.

Conversion of the oil refinery began in 2016. The two existing desulfurization units were modified, and a steam reforming unit was built to produce hydrogen, a necessary input to the renewable diesel production process.

"It’s a very important day for us,” said Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni. “In Venice, we were the first in the world to convert a traditional refinery into a biorefinery, and now we’re opening our second, which is even more innovative. It’s a fresh example of Italian excellence. This is a big step forwards on our path to decarbonization, something we have been pursuing for some time but have stepped up in the last five years, investing in efficiency and, in particular, green energy production, renewables and the circular economy. We have been doing this by transforming organic and inorganic substances, minimizing waste and getting value out of rubbish and waste material, whilst at the same time developing research, technologies and industrial initiatives that will represent valuable future lines of business for Eni. It is an important milestone on this path, and we are reaching it right here in Italy. Gela is leading the charge. Besides its new biorefinery, the site is also home to the pilot waste-to-fuel plant, which has been transforming organic waste into bio-oil, biomethane and water since last December. It is destined to become Eni’s workshop for applying the most advanced technologies in the field of renewables and renewables.”

Eni has more than 1,000 employees at the site in Gela, with 426 of them working at the biorefinery.

 

 
 
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