Increased commitment on renewables is expected in 2018-2021, with an investment in profitable projects of around €1.2 billion and a potential installed capacity of around 1 GW by 2021 (doubling the investments compared to the previous 2017-2020 plan). This capacity is expected to reach 5 GW by 2025. With the set-up of the Energy Solution Division (DES) in 2015, which reports to the CEO, Eni has boosted its development strategy for the renewable energy business, through a distinctive model based on:
A project for the development of innovative Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) solutions that can reduce investment costs and for solar thermal energy production. In collaboration with MIT, a low-cost, easy-to-implement and assemble solar parabolic collector has been developed, for the production in the countries where they will be installed and to stimulate local employment and development. The first full-scale prototype was built, with the Politecnico di Milano, during the year and the tests carried out confirmed the collector’s originality and functionality.
Flexible polymer cells and solar concentration are just some of the applications of our research in the renewable energy sector.
In line with the decarbonization strategy and development of renewables, since several years Eni has paired its traditional business with the production of green fuels by converting the traditional refineries of Porto Marghera and Gela into biorefineries, using the Ecofining proprietary technology which enables the production of biodiesel with a high level of performance through a flexible hydrogenation process with all types of biologic al raw materials (vegetable oils, waste oils, animal fats, by-products from the food industry, etc.). In particular, in the biorefinery of Venice, started-up in 2014, with a capacity of 360 kton/y, a new vegetable oil treatment plant will start by 2018 designed to process raw loads enabling greater feedstock flexibility. Moreover, the start-up of a methane steam reformer to produce hydrogen will allow the production to grow up to 560 kton/y by 2021. The project converting the Gela refinery into a biorefinery is still ongoing and plant completion is expected by the end of 2018. Production is expected to start in 2019. The plant will have a capacity of 720 kton/y and will be flexible in terms of raw materials, enabling the processing of unconventional feedstocks (like used vegetable oils and animal fats). These initiatives implemented in Gela and Venice are expected to reach a total production of biofuels of over 1 million ton by 2021. In 2017, 241 thousand ton of biomass were transformed into 166 thousand ton of green diesel, 34 thousand ton of green naphtha and 10 thousand ton of green LPG with an emissions saving of 440 thousand ton of CO2 compared to traditional processes. Focus on the sustainability of used biomass has always been a priority and has led to the definition of a specific policy.
To support the traditional chemical business, Eni has developed the green chemistry business. Through its subsidiary Versalis, Eni offers a product portfolio deriving from renewable feedstock, which targets high value added segments and aims to strengthen the weight of renewables in the product mix. Since 2014, Versalis in collaboration with a partner of high technological standing has converted its production hub at Porto Torres (Sardinia) into a facility for the production of bio-intermediates utilizing vegetable oils as feedstock. In 2017 management’s efforts were focused on optimizing yields of products with higher value added and valorising certain by-products as feedstock for the production of green diesel or biofuels. At the same time, at the Porto Marghera hub, Versalis has started in 2014 and has been progressing a case to study and develop at industrial scale the application of the metathesis process of vegetable oils, based on a technology patented by Elevance Renewables Sciences, aimed at producing bio-chemicals from renewable feedstock, replacing fossil products, with applications in high value-added segments such as cosmetics, detergents, highperformance lubricants and additives for oil fields. Versalis is also planning to complement the metathesis process by integrating downstream along the product chain, marking the first example of this kind in the world, to achieve the full valorisation of intermediates and co-products from bio-chemicals, targeting high value added applications (such as drilling, detergents, etc.). Furthermore, in 2017 as part of its commitment to green chemistry Versalis signed a cooperation agreement with Bridgestone, an international partner operating in traditional chemistry, to develop an integrated platform for guayule dedicated not just to the production of natural rubber, but also to exploiting the resin and lignocellulosic material provided by the plant. The platform includes the development of an agronomic study aimed at promoting an integration and enhancement model for the territory, particularly agricultural and arid territories, in line with initiatives to support local communities.
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