Eni, Saipem to develop new refineries for biofuel production

Italian energy company Eni has signed a deal with oil and gas contractor Saipem for the development of new Eni biorefineries to produce biofuels for aviation and mobility.

In line with the decarbonisation goals of both companies, the partnership will focus on the study for and potential construction of plants for the production of biojet – a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – and of the biofuel HVO diesel.

Produced from 100% renewable raw materials, HVO diesel is currently sold at Enilive service stations under the name HVOlution and can be used across road, naval and rail transport.

Signed on November 6th by Giuseppe Ricci, COO for Energy Evolution at Eni, and Alessandro Puliti, CEO at Saipem, the agreement involves the application of Eni’s proprietary Ecofining technology for both the development of new biorefineries and the conversion of traditional refineries, “combining Eni’s extensive technological and operational experience with Saipem’s distinctive expertise in the design and construction of this type of plants,” said Eni in a statement.

Supported by Saipem, the company has previously converted two of its traditional refineries into biorefineries for the processing of waste feedstocks such as used cooking oil, animal fats, agro-food industry residues and vegetable oils.

According to Eni, it plans to expand its biorefining capacity from 1.65m tonnes per year (mtpa) to over five mtpa by 2030.

Published in 2021, the ‘EU Biorefinery Outlook to 2030’ presents scenarios on how demand supply for biobased chemicals and materials could grow to 2030 and provides roadmaps with actions required to increase the deployment of biorefineries in the EU.

Biorefineries can harness a range of different feedstocks for the production of low-carbon resources such as bioplastics.

The study also presents the key elements of the analysis which have supported the preparation of the scenarios and roadmaps, including a biorefinery classification system, a database of operational or announced biorefineries, an opportunities and barriers analysis and a market outlook.

The current bio-based chemicals and materials supply from EU biorefineries is estimated at 4.6m tonnes. It is estimated that supply from new or expanded biorefineries could grow by an additional 3.1m tonnes in the EU by 2030 in the high growth scenario.

According to the low growth scenario, this could be limited to an additional 1.1m tonnes.

To advance these scenarios, the ‘outlook’ calls for the implementation of suitable policy and regulation including greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets, mandates, bans/reducing targets on use of fossil and non-recycle products, as well as taxes on some fossil products and carbon.

One key policy action is to ensure the biorefinery projects are adequately classified under the EU’s Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, which covers several areas related to biorefineries including agriculture and forestry, and the manufacture of chemicals and plastics.

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