“Green fleet”, the Navy of the future will be green

After cars, aircraft and fishing vessels, also aircraft carriers and destroyers will be powered by biofuels. The Navy has been working for a year in collaboration with eni on the “Green Fleet” project and, after much research and experimentation, January 2014 saw the first test at sea. The patrol boat Foscari, sailed from the Sicilian port of Augusta for several hours using a sustainable fuel specifically formulated for the Navy for propulsion and the production of electricity on board. The fuel consists of at least 50% Green Diesel made ​​from renewable raw materials that, from next April, will be produce by eni at the converted to bio-refinery in Porto Marghera. Thanks to this project, Italy is top of the first class in Europe, and at the cutting-edge within NATO: “In front of us there are only the US, but they have invested several billions of dollars in the field. We have achieved excellent results at the much lower cost of €300,000,” said frigate captain Pasquale Tripodi, chief of naval engineering.

OBJECTIVE 2016 - The aim of the Navy is to have an entire fleet at sea fuelled by biofuel in two years. The green transition will affect a dozen ships based in Taranto. They will all be front line units, including the aircraft carrier Cavour and two Orizzonte destroyers. By 2020 the fleet expects to see a 40% reduction in the emission of pollutants and CO2.

GREEN DIESEL FOR NATO – “After laboratory and engine bench tests, an important part of the experiments at our research centre in San Donato Milanese involved the formulation of the fuel. The optimal mix we have created is made of 50% Green Diesel, obtained from renewable raw materials, and the other half from petroleum fuel,” explained Giacomo Rispoli, head of research and development at eni’s refining & marketing division. The biofuel has had to adapt to the particular characteristics of the engines used on ships and the specifications required by NATO for fuels for military use. Our compliance with these standards, means that also the countries of the Atlantic Alliance will be able to use the biofuel produced by eni at Porto Marghera, which opens up significant prospects for the Italian industry.

NEW GENERATION BIOFUELS - With an investment of €100 million, the conversion to a biorefinery of eni’s Porto Marghera plant is almost complete. “The plant will produce 300 thousand tons of biodiesel per year. We will start by using palm oil obtained with respect for the environment and human rights and certified in accordance with EU standards. Some research projects are already underway for the use in the future of other rejects, such as as frying oils, rice and corn oils, and animal fat. Our technologies are ready,” Rispoli adds. Projects that will allow Eni to meet the European targets: “Current limits means that 4.5% of biofuels can be used for total fuel needs, a figure that will rise to 10% in 2020. Until now we bought our biofuel on the market, but the biofuel we will produce in Venice will have a much better performance in terms of engine performance and emissions and a higher energy content. As a result we will use less than “Fame”, i.e. conventional biodiesel, in order to comply with EU targets.”