We have several ongoing projects in the world of CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage ) and CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilisation) technology. under the supervision of the Research Centre of San Donato Milanese and the Renewable Energy and Environmental R&D Centre in Novara.
In relation to the technologies, with regards to the capturing stage, we are developing systems that use ionic liquids that are more efficient than conventional amine-based liquids.
With regard to storage, we are optimising all stages of the process, from transport to fluid-rock interaction to field monitoring systems, in order to make the technology more efficient and facilitate its large-scale application. Operationally, we aim to create one of the world's largest CO₂ storage hubs and the first in the Mediterranean off the coast of Ravenna. The conversion of depleted fields in the Adriatic Sea, which will no longer produce natural gas, into exclusive permanent CO₂ storage sites and the re-use of a small part of the existing infrastructure will provide a rapid and concrete solution for reducing emissions in the Italian industrial sector at very competitive prices. CCS is, in particular, the only readily available option for so-called hard-to-abate sectors such as cement, steel, chemical plants, etc., where a significant proportion of carbon dioxide emissions are linked to the industrial process and therefore cannot be avoided by means of electrification or renewables, for example. At an international level, we are also partners in two CCS projects being set up in the UK: HyNet North West, in the Liverpool Bay area on the north-west coast of the Country. Outside Europe, we are also assessing the feasibility of a CO₂ capture project in the United Arab Emirates at Ghasha and is studying a CCS application in Libya, for the Bahr Essalam project. Furthermore, we are looking at opportunities to develop CCS projects in Australia and East Timor.
The range of technologies we are developing for the utilization phase is more various. A first line of research relates to the ultra-intensified bio-fixation of CO₂ through the cultivation of microalgae in LED photobioreactors with photosynthesis optimised wavelengths. Another technology involves a process of CO2 mineralisation with natural mineral phases and the use of the products obtained during the making of cement, which we patented in April 2021. A third area of research looks at ways to use CO₂ in the production of methanol, an energy vector with huge potential. One larger-scale project in particular also aims to capture CO2 directly on board vehicles.