Used vegetable oils can be transformed into biofuels. Eni and CONOE, the Italian Consortium for the Collection and Treatment of Used Oils and Fats, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote and increase the collection of vegetable oils that will supply Eni’s Venice biorefinery and, from 2018, Gela. The Minister for the Environment and the Protection of Land and Sea Gian Luca Galletti and the Director General for Energy Supply Security and Infrastructure of the Ministry of Economic Development Gilberto Dialuce were present at the event.
The agreement will see Eni’s refineries in Italy capitalize on a national energy resource by creating high quality biofuels from used vegetable oils, representing the final stage of the virtuous cycle of the circular economy.
CONOE will invite all Consortium regeneration companies to supply Eni with used oil which Eni will in turn use as feedstock for its biorefinery in Venice. The Venice plant is the first refinery in the world to be converted into a biorefinery, and has the capacity to transform organic raw materials into high quality biofuels.
Since May 2014, the plant has produced green diesel, green naphtha and LPG and has the capacity to create jet fuel. It is currently predominantly fed by palm oil, “supplied exclusively from certified sources in line with industry standards”, claims the Italian oil giant. This will be partially replaced by used vegetable oils and, soon, by oils from animal fats and so-called advanced raw materials such as algae and waste, which avoids competition with the agri-food market.
Eni’s capacity to process vegetable oils once the Gela refinery begins operations in 2018 will be approximately one million tonnes per year. This will give Eni the ability to acquire products from CONOE oil-purchasing companies on the national market, which amounted to over 65,000 tons in 2016. The Consortium estimates potential savings up to 3.130 kg of CO2 equivalent per tonne of biodiesel produced and used as fuel. Water savings meanwhile correspond to 1,9 tonne of biodiesel produced from used oils.
The agreement also envisages joint ventures between Eni and CONOE, as well as with local public administrations and public waste collection companies, to promote the collection of increasing amounts of oil waste produced by Italian households, which are currently almost entirely wasted. CONOE, since 2001, has increased waste collection from 15,000 tonnes in 2002 to 65,000 in 2016, which corresponds to 23% of potentially collectable waste amounting to 280,000 tonnes.