eni will produce, for the first time, biofuels from vegetable raw material.
In other words under current regulations, the amount of raw material used by eni will be less than that required to produce the conventional bio components currently purchased, thereby reducing overall consumption of palm oil by around 15%. The company guarantees that none of its supplies of palm oil will come from areas that are rich in biodiversity or areas of prime forest land.
The European refining industry, particularly in the Mediterranean area, has been in crisis for some years. The excess of refining capacity created by the slump in the demand for oil and gas products and the unfavourable trend in refining margins has forced operators to take action at the more exposed facilities, including the Gela Refinery in Sicily, which is 100% wholly-owned by eni. In 2013, eni announced an ambitious project to restructure the Gela Refinery, with innovation playing a fundamental role.
With an estimated investment of 700 million euro, Gela will be transformed into a cutting-edge technology centre, with new plants for the production of high quality diesel oil. These plants include a new generation hydrocracking plant and the new T-Sand catalyser, patented by eni. T-Sand, once it has replaced the catalysers currently used in the desulphurization plants, will significantly reduce the concentration of polynuclear aromatic components (PNA) in the diesel oil produced. PNAs are mainly responsible for the particulate emissions resulting from combustion in diesel engines.
At the Gela refinery, the first eni system for the production of energy from industrial waste will be built.
The first eni “zero waste” system for the production of energy from industrial waste will be developed and implemented at the Gela Refinery. This new technology derives from skills developed by eni from its experience in the environmental restoration of industrial sites. Controlled combustion destroys the biological and oily residues produced by the refining process, eliminating the organic part and producing a non-organic ash that can be easily placed in a landfill. In a more advanced version of the technology a completely inert vitrified solid waste is produced.
At the Sicilian centre, research on the production of third generation biofuels from algae is ongoing. eni continues to be committed to improving sustainability and protecting the environment, pursuing increasingly efficient use of resources and minimizing emissions. The Gela Refinery will play an important role in disseminating and using our know-how, by making our facilities and organization available to third parties for initiatives to boost technological innovation and environmental protection.
Green chemistry represents an innovative evolution of traditional activities that is expected to increase exponentially.