Biofuels, a key contribution for the transport transition

We develop the most innovative technologies and low-carbon production methods to produce biofuel.

Biofuels are combustibles for transport obtained from biogenic raw materials, such as plants, seeds or organic waste, like cooking oils or animal fat. When produced from waste raw materials, or from sources that do not compete with food production, they offer an important contribution to reducing emissions from cars, trucks, ships and aeroplanes. 

Already today, fuels sold in European Union refuelling stations include at least a 7% bio component for diesel and 5% for petrol. The production of  these types of biofuels, makes it possible for us to collaborate successfully with the agricultural sector and also to valorise waste from agricultural products. Therefore, in order to ensure sustainable management of the entire supply chain, Eni discontinued the sourcing of palm oil in its Venice and Gela bio-refineries as of October 2022, ahead of the term indicated by the European Union.

Their use is particularly efficient because it is based on existing technologies and they can contribute immediately to reducing emissions.

For biofuels, emission reduction must be considered throughout their life cycle, considering that all the raw materials used are of biogenic origin and mostly originate from waste and processing residues; an example of a circular economy approach applied to the transition of mobility.

This is why we have developed the Ecofining™ technology. Unlike traditional technologies, Ecofining™ yields a high-quality biofuel regardless of the initial material. We are using Ecofining in our bio-refineries in Venice and Gela, where we process raw materials of organic origin (vegetable oils, animal fat and used cooking oils). We expect also to make increasing use of waste and residue from the food industry. 

We are also investigating the feasibility of converting an existing facility into a third bio-refinery in Livorno, where we plan to build an Ecofining™ plant capable of processing 500,000 tonnes of biomass per year. Meanwhile, the St. Bernard Renewables bio-refinery in Louisiana (USA) is starting up in partnership with PBF Energy and will also use the Ecofining™ technology.

To ensure increasingly a sustainable supply for our bio-refineries, we are coordinating the cultivation of plants that do not have an impact either on traditional food crops or on forests. They are grown on abandoned or very degraded or semi-arid land in African countries.

These agricultural products are then collected in our "agri-hubs" (the first is already operating in Kenya) and later processed in our bio-refineries, where they are transformed into HVO biofuel


Biofuels: what are they and where do they come from?

There are different types of biofuels. The first that were developed were from dedicated crops such as maize, rapeseed and soya. These biofuels cannot be used as they are in conventional internal combustion engines; but they must be blended with fossil fuels. For example, current European regulations classify transport fuels available at European petrol stations today as B7 (7% of FAME biodiesel in diesel from fossil sources) or E5 (5% bioethanol in petrol from fossil sources).

However, the production of these first-generation biofuels has negative environmental implications, such as deforestation, competition with food production and impact on biodiversity.

For this reason, EU legislation (the EU RED II Directive) encourages the production of biofuels that are referred to as advanced: produced from non-food raw materials, such as organic waste and agricultural, forestry and food industry biomass waste. These biofuels can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil, without compromising food security.

Eni products are increasingly decarbonized

Eni produces a range of hydrotreated biofuels, among them HVOlution (HVO 100%) and Eni Diesel+ (HVO 15%). To contribute to the decarbonization of air transport, it produces aviation fuel (Sustainable Aviation Fuel - SAF) made from a biogenic component and blended in the proportion of 20% with fossil fuel to obtain the JET A1+Eni Biojet. This fuel has been on sale since the end of 2022.

Innovation helps decarbonization

Reducing emissions in an increasingly growth-driven world is a challenging goal, and we are facing it by changing the way we produce and use energy.

The Ecofining technology: how does it work and what is it used for?

In its bio-refineries in Venice and Gela, Eni produces advanced biofuels thanks to the Ecofining™ technology. This technology makes it possible to produce biofuel called hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) with a high quality standard. The advantage of HVO is that it can be used in modern diesel engines without any modification and in any mixture with fossil components, or even in pure form. 

Eni's Strategic Plan 2023-2026 expects to reach a refining capacity of 3 million tonnes per year by 2025, and then more than 5 million by 2030.

Ecofining™: dai rifiuti organici ai biocarburanti

Ecofining™, a proprietary technology for producing biofuels

The transformation process of biogenic raw materials is used to produce high-quality biofuel.

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