Waste to Fuel

Eni technology for sustainable waste management.

Giving new life to organic waste to create energy

Circular waste management is at the heart of our commitment to create resource-efficient growth. The Waste to Fuel (W2F) technology, developed at the Eni Research Centre for Renewable Energy and the Environment in Novara and tested in a pilot plant in Gela, allows us to enhance the energy potential of organic waste. This is done through a process that transforms the biomass feedstock into bio-oil and biomethane, recovering its natural water content. A phenomenon that nature performs over millions of years is repeated in a few hours: creating energy from biomass with fossil origins. The raw material for the process is the Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) and waste from the food industry. The bio-oil obtained varies from 3% to 16% depending on the composition of the feedstock, it can be used in blending as a low-sulphur fuel for maritime transport or refined to produce biofuels. The water recovered from the organic waste, up to 60% of its weight, is reused for industrial purposes.


How does the process work?

Thermoliquefaction is at the centre of this technology, a thermochemical process in an aqueous solution that transforms the initial biomass into a sort of “biological oil”, or bio-oil. The process also produces gas (mainly biomethane and CO₂) and water, which can be reused in the plant itself or for other industrial uses once purified. Each step is designed to minimise the amount of waste to be sent for disposal: the solid residue, which is the waste that cannot be processed, can also be used to generate heat for the plant's energy needs. In the following video, Aldo Bosetti from the Eni Research Centre for Renewable Energy and the Environment in Novara describes the processing stages, live from the pilot plant.


Eni's proprietary Waste to Fuel technology turns organic waste into bio-oil (Only Italian version)

Testing and development

To test the Waste to Fuel technology, in January 2019 we developed and launched a pilot plant in Gela, in the Biorefinery area, with the aim of collecting useful data to perfect and develop the technology on an industrial scale. The testing phase, which entailed the use of urban waste (up to 100 kg/day) from municipalities in the Ragusa area, ended in April 2022, in line with the permits granted by the relevant authorities.
The commitment in developing the Waste-to-Fuel technology falls within the scope of the activities that Eni Rewind aims to achieve in the coming years, in line with the conversion of Eni's industrial sites. In particular, the circular transformation underway offers opportunities for waste management with new treatment and recovery facilities that will be built in areas that were previously urbanised, abandoned or reclaimed. A strategic vision, based on the principles of matter and energy recovery and zero consumption of new land, providing a sustainable response to the needs of the waste sector in Italy, which is characterised by structural shortfalls.  


Municipal waste becomes a resource

Our responsible approach to biomass

Eni's strategy from now until 2050 is to transform itself into a company that will only market decarbonised products, so as to limit their environmental impact. This responsible approach goes beyond mere legal compliance and will lead to the integration of biomass-based production into traditional activities. To focus on this research and development goal, Eni Rewind is partnering with Eni, the University of Naples Federico II and others in the "Biofeedstock - Development of integrated technological platforms for the exploitation of waste biomass" project.

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