Our commitment to helping create a more efficient system.
Energy and the climate are the big things on which the future of our society rests. In the past it was markets that dictated the ddirectionof progress. Today it is the urgent need to protect the environment. It is a great challenge, but we have the chance to save the planet, creating a new economy that is more inclusive. To reach this goal, and to become carbon-neutral by 2030, we plan to invest around 3.6 billion € over the four years of the 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, in decarbonization, circular economy and renewable energy. But we need to be committed and careful. We need a change of mindset and paradigms, and we will do that by reducing waste.
In biology, regeneration means reproducing or rebuilding part of an animal or vegetable organism. For us at Eni, it means giving material that has come to end of its use a new lease of life from an economic, technical and environmental point of view. It also means giving new prospects to existing facilities, finding innovative solutions, identifying new processes and products that reuse and exploit waste material. This is all part of a more efficient economic system that minimises consumption of resources and energy, guaranteeing long-term growth for the company.
Research plays a fundamental role at our company. It helps us through the energy transition, providing innovative ideas and targeted investments. Our collaborations with Milan Polytechnic and MIT are just two examples of the agreements that help us develop successful projects. Today, we can rely on an R&S portfolio with around 7,300 patents and more than 350 projects. In the coming four years we will be investing 900 million € in research, of which over half will be in technologies for improving the decarbonization process and developing a circular economy.
For us at Eni, technology represents opportunity. It allows us to always remain competitive. Along with the work at our seven research centres, that is why we are focusing on new solutions that will make our work more efficient and sustainable. But technology is also a great means for reaching objectives like circularity in products. That is why at Gela we have opened the first plant that produces biofuel from organic matter in urban waste. This is a further step forward within an integrated circular economy model that reuses organic waste on an industrial scale, with sizeable environmental benefits.
Thanks to Ecofining™ technology, a system developed in Eni's laboratories in collaboration with Honeywell-UOP, we have hydrogenated vegetable oils to obtain a new component with advantages over traditional biodiesels. Eni Diesel+ is 15% organic and renewable, and using it has resulted in a significant fall in polluting emissions. It is made at Eni's bio-refinery near Venice, the first example in the world of a traditional refinery converted into an "organic" one. The site at Assemini, in Sardinia, will be revamped to follow in its tracks.
In a world where we can no longer afford to waste things, converting bio-refineries and producing oil with less environmental impact contribute to the rapid transformation the planet needs. Thanks to our resources, raw materials like vegetable oil, animal fat and cooking oil can be converted into Green Diesel. The future will come from sustainable solutions.
Technology, therefore, is the means to recover resources to put into the circular economy. Eni's Energy Transition R&D programme was created to develop techniques for spreading the use of natural gas and reducing the environmental impact linked to their use. Reusing sulphur, for example, which is generally thought of as a waste material, can help optimise processes by minimising waste. To keep progressing in these activities, we have set aside €480 million for research and development of new activities within the circular economy and carbon neutrality.