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The rules we follow meet sustainability standards
Eni is aware of the need to maintain a responsible approach to the issue of biomass that goes beyond mere compliance with the law. Therefore, to ensure sustainable management right throughout the supply chain that involves converting certain refineries into biorefineries, it has outlined a series of general principles and selective criteria and stopped the palm oil supply to the Venice and Gela biorefineries. Furthermore, where deemed necessary, Eni will evaluate the need to define specific policies for other biomasses used. The rules Eni follows meet sustainability standards when it comes to selecting suppliers and defining the clauses of biomass supply contracts and guarantees the following where certified raw materials are concerned:
- that they do not come from cultivated areas obtained from the conversion of areas characterised by a high carbon content, such as wetlands and forests
- that they do not come from ecosystems characterised by high levels of biodiversity, such as areas covered by primary or secondary forest or in any case from ecosystems of recognised natural value
- that specific certification schemes are, where applicable, certified according to sustainability standards recognised at European or international level.
At the Venice biorefinery, approximately 45% of the materials that fed the plant in 2020 consisted of used vegetable oils, soap pastes and other waste.
The Gela biorefinery launched its biomass pre-treatment unit (BTU), allowing the plant to be fuelled up to 100% by materials comprising waste and residues from plant and animal processing, as well as raw vegetable oils from low-impact crops in the food supply chain, in 2021.
In 2021 and in 2022, Eni traced 100% of the mills and plantations from which its palm oil was sourced for the Venice and Gela biorefineries. 100% of the palm oil used was certified by ISCC.
Furthermore, Eni promotes the use of raw materials that:
- do not lead to a change in the use of the soil such as to cause its impoverishment or potentially hinder it by adopting good agronomic practices
- do not reduce the availability of water resources in competition with the agri-food chain
- come from land that is used in accordance with the internationally recognised rights of local populations and indigenous peoples, starting with free, open and informed prior consultation in full knowledge of the facts
- are produced in a sustainable manner that is environmentally friendly and meets the relevant social requirements, including workers' rights and the protection of health and safety.
Eni's strategy from now until 2050 is to transform itself into a company that will only sell decarbonized products, so as to limit their environmental impact as much as possible. We aim to expand biofuel refining capacity up to 6 million tonnes/year by 2035.
Eni guarantees the following with regard to the use of biomass at its plants:
- Compliance with the principles of traceability and transparency
- Continuous promotion of the optimisation of raw material usage, minimising consumption and waste and maximising efficiency
- The creation of products whose use is in keeping with the applicable sustainability standards
- The adoption of the best applicable technologies
- Adaptation to the sustainability criteria outlined in the RED recast (Directive 2018/2001).
New range of products certified for sustainability
Versalis, Eni's chemical company, obtained the ISCC Plus certification in February 2021 for monomers, intermediates, polymers and elastomers produced with sustainable raw materials, from bio-naphtha and chemical recycling, at the Brindisi, Porto Marghera, Mantua, Ferrara and Ravenna plants.
Eni endeavours to:
- ensure the transparency and disclosure of information relating to the biomasses used and the country of origin, providing this information at least once a year (for 2021 data see Eni for 2021 – Sustainability performance)
- select suppliers according to high sustainability standards and mutual cooperation to improve the sustainability of the supply
- collaborate with stakeholders and experts in the field to improve its knowledge and ensure compliance with the most advanced standards within the company
- develop the best technological solutions, including through its own research units
- continuously improve its procurement process in order to reduce the use of biomass that can generate competition with agri-food chains and to continue the search for alternative feedstocks
- promote, where appropriate, the use of product life cycle studies in order to monitor and reduce the associated environmental impacts
- gradually increase the share of advanced and low-ILUC feedstocks, in line with what is defined in the 2030 objectives of the RED recast (Directive 2018/2001).
100% of the biomass used in Eni's biorefineries is certified according to EU voluntary schemes or the Italian certification system.
Eni’s research for the Ecofining™ technology
We have converted two traditional refineries into biorefineries using the Ecofining™ technology developed by Eni's research in conjunction with UOP. We did this to address the challenges posed by the structural crisis in refining and to comply with the requirements of European legislation on the quota of energy produced from renewable sources, anticipating the energy transition pathway. This strategy has enabled us to directly produce the quota of HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) biofuel necessary to comply with the legislation. Thanks to the flexibility of the Ecofining™ technology that allows us to process various types of biomass, Eni is increasing the use of alternative feedstocks (such as used cooking and frying oils, animal fats and waste from vegetable oil processing) by experimenting with advanced feedstocks (such as algae and waste oils, lignocellulosic material and bio-oils). Eni’s biofuel production complies with the requirements set by the EU voluntary schemes for compliance with sustainability criteria and the reduction of climate-changing gas emissions pursuant to the European Union’s Renewable Energy and Fuel Quality directives.
Eni stops the supply of palm oil
In October 2022, Eni announced it would stop supplying palm oil to the Gela and Venice biorefineries for hydrogenated biofuel production, well ahead of current legislation and previous forecasts. Since October 2022, the two biorefineries are supplied for over 85% by ‘waste & residue’ raw materials, such as UCO (used cooking oils), animal fats and other biomasses governed by current European and Italian regulations.
Furthermore, in November 2022, the first load of vegetable oil produced by pressing castor, croton and cotton seeds in the Makueni agri-hub, in Kenya, reached the Gela biorefinery. These agri-feedstocks are not in competition with the food supply chain, as they are cultivated in degraded areas, or harvested from wild trees, or are obtained by enhancing agricultural by-products. In 2023, feedstock production in Eni agri-hubs in Kenya is estimated to reach 20,000 tonnes, while the waste & residue collection – including UCO – shipped to Italy from Kenya for Eni biorefineries should reach 5,000 tonnes.
HVO to knock down emissions
Eni biorefineries produce hydrogenated HVO biofuels, in purity or mixed, destined to diesel engines, bio diesel fuel for the chemical field, and bioLPG and bioJET for air transport. HVO can also be used in purity in all approved engines, knocking down CO2 emissions (calculated along the entire life cycle) by 60-90%, compared to the reference fuel mix.
From waste oil to biofuel
Waste oil can be turned into biofuel. With our patented EcofiningTM system, we can turn organic raw materials into high-quality biofuel, whose technical term is HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil). Oilà! is Eni's initiative launched in July 2018 and addressed to Eni’s employees, aimed at recovering used domestic food-grade and frying oil. The purpose is to turn waste that could be potentially harmful to the environment into a new resource: around 6,800 employees from the Venice, Rome, Taranto, Sannazzaro and Livorno facilities have collected 15,565 litres of oil since the project begun. Data on this collection confirm the company’s commitment even in in-house initiatives, which contributed to the implementation of a circular economy process in the sites where Oilà was launched.
Read more about decarbonization path
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