In the 2022 edition of the Eni Awards, one of the three Eni Innovation Awards went to researchers Andrea Chiodini, Stefano Loda and Francesca Rubertelli of the Eni Research Centre for Renewable Energy, Magnetic Fusion and Material Science in Novara, Italy, for the invention of e-lorec®, an innovative technology that makes reclamation operations more sustainable.
How the e-lorec® technology works
e-lorec® is a device capable of recovering also liquid phases that are denser than water and that stratify at the bottom of aquifers, between groundwater and the first layers of impermeable rock. It could be considered as an evolution of e-hyrec®, a technology for the selective recovery of hydrocarbons, now produced and successfully used by Eni Rewind, Eni's environmental company.
In 2018, Eni’s researchers had already invented and successfully tested the automatic device, called e-hyrec® - eni hydrocarbon recovery, capable of descending down a well until it reaches the level of the contaminated aquifer and of selectively recovering the pollutant thanks to a special hydrophobic filter.
Compared to the e-hyrec® device, in e-lorec® the hydrophobic filter and the positioning system are not necessary, because heavy pollutants tend to stratify at the bottom of the well.
The difference between the two technologies lies in their ability to operate depending on the quality of the groundwater and the type of more or less dense contaminants: the e-hyrec® technology responds correctly in the presence of less dense contaminants in the water, while e-lorec® does so in the presence of more dense contaminants in the water.
Technological innovation at the heart of Eni’s strategy
Providing solutions for environmental protection and the restoration of contaminated areas are issues at the heart of Eni’s strategy to offer energy with increasingly limited carbon emissions and the lowest possible impact on the ecosystem. To achieve this goal, research and technological innovation play a fundamental role.
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