ENI goes green. Oil giant reached an agreement with labour unions and Sicilian authorities on upgrading its oil refinery near the town of Gela to make it environmentally friendly. Under the deal ENI will invest 2.2 billion euros in the 60-year-old refinery to make it eco-friendly.
In all some 3,000 jobs are at stake in safeguarding the future of the refinery, which recently was hit by strike action and a major fire.
The Sicilian agreement follows the Green Refinery project in Porto Marghera (Venice), which is the first example in the world of conversion of a conventional refinery into a biorefinery.
At a difficult time for the European refining industry, ENI identified the opportunity to reuse the catalytic hydrodesulfurization section in the Venice refinery, reconfiguring it into a biorefinery. Inside the detected configuration, it was utilised the proprietary Ecofining technology, previously developed by ENI in the laboratories of San Donato Milanese in partnership with Honeywell-UOP.
Following the conversion, the biorefinery will be able to produce high-grade biofuels – in particular green diesel, but also green naphtha, LPG and potentially even jet fuel – from raw materials of biological origin, to meet the requirements of the EU Directive on renewable energy and derive 10% of energy in conventional fuels from renewables by 2020.
With the start up of the Green Refinery, ENI will be able to produce around 300,000 tonnes per year of green diesel already in 2014. The feedstock will initially be palm oil; in the second phase, also animal fats, used oil, oils from algae and various types of biological waste.