Eni opens 750,000-ton biorefinery in Gela

September 25, 2019 |

In Italy, Eni has opened the most innovative bio-refinery in Europe at Gela. Launched in August 2019, the plant has a processing capacity of up to 750,000 metric tons a year and will be able to treat increasing quantities of used vegetable oil, animal fat, algae and by-products to produce high-quality biofuels.

All the petrochemical plants built in Gela since 1962 have closed down. In addition to the €294 million that has been spent so far on reconverting the refineries, Eni plans to invest another €73 million for further preliminary activities and pre-treating biomass, which will be finished by the third quarter of 2020 and will supply the bio-refinery with second-generation raw material, from waste, raw vegetable oil and advanced material.

The process of converting the traditional refinery into a bio-refinery began in April 2016 and took more than 3 million hours of work by Eni’s employees and third parties to finish. Significantly, there were also no accidents along the way. To create the Ecofining™ plant, the two existing desulphurization units were modified and a steam reforming unit was built to produce hydrogen. Hydrogen is a basic ingredient in hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), the biodiesel that, when added to fossil diesel at 15%, makes the premium fuel Enidiesel+.

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