One of the main challenges for the energy sector in the transition process to a low-carbon future is to ensure access to energy for all in an efficient and sustainable way. According to International Energy Agency (IEA) projections, in the coming years energy demand will continue to grow, particularly in emerging markets and developing economies due to the convergence of several factors, including population increase, increased urbanisation and infrastructure development. The looming threat of climate change and the commitments made by national governments in the Paris Agreement require a strong push forward in the reconversion of industrial processes in specific sectors, such as transport and agriculture, promoting new technologies capable of generating clean energy and creating new job opportunities.
With this in mind, at the beginning of 2021, we launched a series of joint initiatives in various countries on the African continent to develop the supply chain for high-quality biofuels based on new circular economy models. These biofuels are produced from raw materials that are not in direct competition with food and fodder crops, such as agricultural waste and residue and non-food crops (e.g. miscanthus and short rotation coppice).
The aim is to provide raw material for the Eni bio-refining system in Italy and for the conversion of refineries in Africa, through the creation of agrihubs for the local cultivation of feedstock that does not compete with the food chain, for example castor, and the processing of agricultural residue, such as that deriving from cotton, to replace palm oil in feeding bio-refineries. Kenya is now the lead country in achieving the identified goals: thanks to the advanced development of its agricultural sector and the collection and refining of used cooking oil, it will be able to revolutionise its energy industry, making it efficient and sustainable.