The industrial plant in Crescentino, in the province of Vercelli, produces bio-ethanol, as well as renewable electricity using co-produced lignin from the linked biomass and biogas plants, for which a biomethane upgrade is planned to allow network entry. The biomass plant for renewable power generation, the water treater and the bio-ethanol plant are currently being fed with first generation sugars. The Versalis Biotech research centres, located in Rivalta Scrivia, near Alessandria, and in Novara, are working to further develop production of a complete range of fermentative renewable products, such as bio-oils for bio-refinery, totally biodegradable polymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs), intermediates for biopolymers and biochemicals, all made from second-generation sugars produced with PROESA® ¹ technology. Trials are also under way to develop lignin for new market applications. The plan also includes the re-launch of international licensing activities for the Proesa® proprietary technology for the production of second generation bio-ethanol, advanced bio-fuel, able to respond to the growing demand and sustainability requirements for bio-fuels provided for by various global regulatory instruments.
Crescentino is a strategic site that strengthens Versalis's competitive position in the renewable chemicals sector and aims to develop a totally sustainable and integrated platform using only residual biomass that does not compete with food production. An upgrade is ongoing at the site, a strategic hub for the production of electricity and chemical feedstock entirely coming from residual biomass that does not compete with the food supply chain on the basis of one of the most advanced proprietary technologies in the industry, of which one of the first practical application was the production of a bioethanol-based disinfectant: with Versalis, Eni's chemical company, in July 2020 here we launched a new line to produce liquid hand disinfectant marketed under the brand name Invix® to meet the growing demand as a result of the current health situation across the nation. The disinfectant, which has been developed based on the formulation provided by the World Health Organization and authorized by the Italian Ministry of Health, is a medical device, the active substance of which is ethanol that is obtained from vegetable raw materials.
¹The Proesa® technology converts biomass into second-generation sugars and then produces biofuels or potentially other chemical bio-intermediates.