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New technologies for sustainable transport

Eni has a leading role in the path to decarbonization of transportation thanks to a holistic approach to sustainable mobility.

by Eni Staff
9 min read
byEni Staff
9 min read

Sustainable transport

About 24% of global CO2 emissions come from the transport sectors. In Europe and the United States, transport accounts for almost 30% of emissions. Promoting sustainable transport means reducing greenhouse gases, which cause climate change, and taking on one of the world's biggest challenges, protecting the environment. In 2015 the United Nations organisations approved the 2030 Agenda, an action programme setting out 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for everyone in government, business and society to follow, to achieve sustainable growth from an economic, social and environmental point of view. Eni's mission now is the same as that in 2016, but with the addition of the Sustainable Development Goals. Through this combination, we will meet global challenges by actively supporting a socially fair energy transition, to preserve our planet and provide efficient, sustainable energy resources for all.

Eni is playing an active leading role in the long-term strategy for carbon neutrality, promoting a holistic approach to a technology neutral sustainable mobility, aiming for a combination of innovative solutions which guarantee minimal environmental impact and increased efficiency for the consumer.

The circular economy is a powerful driving force in the development of new sustainable mobility solutions, because it sees scrap and waste used in new mobility products with a reduced environmental impact.

“At Eni, we want to seize the opportunities unleashed by a transformation based on technological innovation and aimed at a new development paradigm. Opportunities like these enable us to create value for stakeholders and shareholders through a systemic approach that integrates sustainability organically and makes it part of the business.”

by Claudio Descalzi

Biofuel

Biofuel, unlike traditional fuel, does not come from fossil fuel, but from vegetable biomass. From 2014, Eni added to its traditional business the production of a biocomponent for diesel made by transforming vegetable oils into HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil) which, when added to diesel, becomes Eni Diesel +, Eni's premium fuel. Eni's research also includes circular economy projects for using biomass, waste, and refuse as new feedstock for producing HVO biofuel in place of vegetable oil. Used Cooking Oils (UCO) are a clear example of how the circular economy can contribute to developing solutions for sustainable mobility starting with waste and refuse. Appropriately collected, UCO can be used as an alternative feedstock to the vegetable oils processed in bio-refineries for the production of the HVO biofuel to be added to diesel to produce Eni Diesel +. About 50% of the UCO collected in Italy in 2019 was processed at the Eni bio-refinery in Venice, and soon will be processed also at Gela, thanks to Eni's partnerships with the CONOE, RenOils and Utilitalia consortiums and the agreements signed with several multiutility companies in charge of waste collection and processing. With a view to environmental sustainability, Eni promotes not only waste reuse, but also the use of marginal land. The Tunisian experiment, started in 2018, to cultivate castor in pre-desert soils which cannot be used for food crops, was concluded in 2019. This allows for the cultivation of a biomass suitable for Eni bio-refineries and therefore for the production of biocomponents for diesel. Following the positive results of the experiment, an assessment of the possibility to start large-scale cultivation was begun, which will provide feedstock for the Gela bio-refinery with a more sustainable short supply chain. To this end, a collaboration agreement was signed with the Tunisian company SNDP in December 2019.

Gas for transport, a sector in transition: CNG, LNG and biomethane

Methane is the most technologically mature alternative fuel with a low environmental impact. It is at hand from a distribution network of around 1,300 sales points and a consolidated market in Italy. In a circular way, Eni recovers biomass and waste from the agricultural and livestock chain and sets up plants to produce biomethane. Eni intends to promote the entire biomethane chain and to this end has made collaborative agreements with Consorzio Italiano Biogas, Coldiretti and Confagricoltura, and initiated talks with biogas-producing companies to promote the production of biomethane from anaerobic digestion of biomass, livestock waste and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste. By strengthening its own distribution network, Eni will play an important role in facilitating the spread of gas mobility, both with compressed natural gas (CNG) for cars and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for HGVs. At the end of 2019, the Eni network had about 200 sales points (around 100 owned by Eni) supplying methane gas and five sales points (two owned) supplying liquid methane. In the 2020-2023 four-year period, 50 new sales points supplying methane (around 40 in partnership with Snam Rete Gas) and 10 new LNG sales points (for the development of the HGV segment) are planned, in addition to the two already in existence.

Enjoy car sharing

Enjoy is Eni's car-sharing service which aims to reduce the amount of private vehicles, lower traffic congestion and improve the quality of life for people living and working in cities. Enjoy began in Milan in December 2013, and now operates there as well as in Rome, Florence, Turin and Bologna, with a fleet of about 2,500 Fiat 500s (Euro 6) and around 100 Fiat Doblòs (some running on methane). It is based on a “free-floating” model which lets you pick up and drop off the cars in any place within the area covered by the service. In addition, biodegradable products and dry cleaning are used to clean cars (with an average saving of 300 litres of water). At the end of 2019, Enjoy had around 950,000 members (with an average of 400 registrations per day).

Eni for electric mobility

Eni has a four-year programme to install electric recharging posts in around 350 service stations. The development plan for electric recharging points will see super-fast (350 kW) recharging stations set up on roads with high traffic. These will provide up to 100 km of driving power in just 5 minutes, thanks to our agreement with Ionity, a joint venture between some of the top car makers. In city centres the plan calls for the installation of fast charging electric posts (50 kW). Moreover, customisable solutions for electric mobility will be offered through Eni Gas e Luce (with E-start), based on the customer's requirements: from wallboxes for houses to posts for businesses.

Eni and hydrogen for mobility

Hydrogen is an energy vector that offers many opportunities in the short-to-medium term for reducing emissions in the transport sector. Vehicles run on fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, guaranteeing recharging and driving times similar to those in traditional vehicles run on internal combustion. As part of the sustainable hydrogen mobility activities, in 2019 Eni signed two partnership agreements with Toyota, which will make fuel cell cars available for hydrogen mobility experiments. As per the agreements, Eni will build two new service stations which will supply 700 bar of hydrogen, one in the San Donato Milanese area and the other in the Metropolitan City of Venice area. Eni has also signed an agreement with the Metropolitan City of Venice for the development of an integrated and experimental hydrogen platform. Numerous research projects are underway, including the feasibility study for a high-temperature gasification plant for Plasmix (mix of currently non-recyclable plastics) and SSF (Secondary Solid Fuel) for the production of hydrogen at the Venice refinery.

New solutions for sustainable mobility

Besides the above research projects into biofuel and hydrogen, Eni is investing in new fuels produced from waste. In this area, a project is being developed for the production of methanol through the high temperature oxygen gasification of municipal solid waste, made up of non-recyclable plastic waste (Plasmix, a mix of currently non-recyclable plastics and SSF, Secondary Solid Fuel) at the Livorno refinery. The process is based on the production of a syngas from carbon based material. Syngas thus produced is first purified and can subsequently be used for the synthesis of methanol or for the production of pure hydrogen. Methanol produced using waste as a raw material could be considered a Recycled Carbon Fuel, as required by the European directive on renewables RED II, and is therefore comparable to a biofuel. It can be used in gasoline through transformation into MTBE, or in an experimental gasoline blend with a high alcohol content together with bioethanol (A20 gasoline). With the FCA group a new fuel was developed, A20, based on a blend of 15% methanol and 5% bioethanol. This was tested for 13 months in five Enjoy Fiat 500s, which were rented about 9,000 times and drove a total of 50,000 km without any problems. A Waste to Fuel technology was also developed that can convert the organic fraction of municipal solid waste into bio-oil.

Sustainable mobility initiatives for employees

Eni has developed a plan for employee sustainable mobility, which includes a series of actions to reduce emissions when travelling from home to work, such as: • promoting company car pooling; • arranging discounts for employees buying season tickets for local public transport (LPT); • implementing a company shuttle service making around 350 journeys per day to link the Eni offices in Rome, Milan, Novara, Ravenna and Vibo Valentia to the nearest LPT Hubs. Eni is also involved in initiatives capable of indirectly contributing to sustainable mobility, such as promoting new ways of working, like remote working or teleworking and the use of video conferencing systems to reduce travel.