Eni was the first company in the world to introduce an oxygenated compound like MTBE, an alkyl ether with high octane properties, into petrol in a systematic way, marketing it under the acronym “BD-1” (Black Dog 1) to recall the company's logo.
The technology for the production of MTBE was developed by Eni in its research laboratories and, through in-house technological know-how, it was successfully brought to industrial level by building the Ecofuel plant in the petrochemical plant in Ravenna. Ecofuel’s plant started operations in 1973 and it was the first example in the world of a plant for the production of MTBE. In 2023 it has reached the 50-year mark.
In the 1990s, in accordance with the changes in legislation associated with greater concern for the environment and the improvement of air quality, Ecofuel modified the Ravenna plant layout to allow it to produce the sustainable ether ETBE, which, by replacing methanol with ethanol, allows compounds from renewable sources, that do not require changes to fuel formulations or their distribution network, to be used as petrol components.