In Gela in Sicily, an interesting project has started to transform an oil refinery into a biorefinery that will deal with the treatment of biomass, creating a sustainable industrial activity perfectly integrated into a circular chain of the economy, as can be seen from Eni's indications.
18 months after the inauguration of the biorefinery, the new BTU plant is in operation, which will allow to use up to 100% waste raw materials for the production of biofuels
The new BTU plant, Biomass Treatment Unit, has been started and tested, which will allow the Eni biorefinery in Gela to use up to 100% biomass that is not in competition with the food supply chain, from used edible oils to fats from fish and meat products produced in Sicily, with the aim of creating a zero-kilometer circular economy model for the production of biodiesel, bionafta, biogpl and bio-jet.
The Gela biorefinery will also be able to be powered by castor oil, thanks to the experimental project for the cultivation of castor plants on semi-desert soils in Tunisia, thus completely replacing palm oil which from 2023 will no longer be used in Eni's production processes.
Construction of the plant began in early 2020 and despite the slowdowns caused by the management of activities during the pandemic, it was basically completed on schedule. 1.3 million hours were worked, achieving the goal of zero accidents, both for Eni people and for the workers of contracted companies.
With the launch of the BTU, the second phase of the transformation of the industrial site is completed, which qualifies as a site exclusively dedicated to sustainable production processes and concretizes the process of decarbonization and energy transition that characterizes Eni's strategy, committed to achieving total decarbonization of products and processes by 2050.
Among the main points of the 2021-2024 plan is in fact the doubling of the production capacity of Eni's biorefineries to about 2 million tons by 2024, the increase to 5/6 million tons by 2050.
The BTU is added to the already built Ecofining ™ plants, Eni-UOP technology for the production of biofuels from raw materials of biological origin, Steam Reforming for production of hydrogen and the Waste to Fuel pilot plant, built by Eni Rewind, which transforms the organic fraction of municipal solid waste into bio-oil and bio-methane.
The transformation of the former petrochemical plant in Gela is an example of a regenerative circular economy, which has allowed the conversion of production cycles based on fossil sources and which goes hand in hand step with a plan for the demolition of plants no longer functional for the production of biofuels and for environmental remediation.
Automatic translation. We apologize for any inaccuracies. Original article in Italian.