Eni SPA has launched a feasibility study to evaluate the potential of building a new biorefinery at the operator’s existing 84,000-b/d refinery in Livorno, Tuscany, on Italy’s northwestern coast.

The feasibility study will examine construction of three new plants for production of hydrogenated biofuel at Livorno as part of the operator’s plan to secure the site’s future as a production and employment hub, as well as the company’s broader strategy to increase availability of decarbonized and sustainable products that will help further the corporate goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 in line with the global energy transition, Eni said on Oct. 17.

The Livorno transformation project—which would initially involve locating a new biorefinery inside the existing conventional refinery—specifically would include construction of:

  • A biogenic feedstock pretreatment unit to transform waste raw materials, residues, and waste resulting from the processing of vegetable products and oils from crops that do not compete with the food chain into renewable feedstock.
  • A 500,000-tonnes/year (tpy) plant for production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) based on the Eni-Honeywell UOP LLC codeveloped proprietary Ecofining process technology.
  • A plant for producing hydrogen from methane gas.

With design of the three new Livorno plants scheduled for completion by 2023, construction on the biorefining project could be under way by 2025, Eni said.

To be reviewed by local institutions and trade unions within the framework of a participatory and inclusive industrial relations model, the proposed Livorno renewables transformation plan forms an important part of Eni’s ongoing decarbonization strategy, continuing the company’s previous co-siting of renewables and traditional plants to help meet Scope 3 emission reduction targets, according to Giuseppe Ricci, Eni’s Energy Evolution chief operating officer.

Renewable fuel goals

If approved, the Livorno biorefinery would become Eni’s third refinery-to-renewables location following transformations of its former 80,000-b/d Venice refinery at Porto Marghera, Italy, and 105,000-b/d Gela refinery on the southern coast of Sicily into biorefineries in 2014 and 2019, respectively.

Most recently, Eni started SAF production via coprocessing of used cooking oils (UCO) with conventional crude at its 104,000-b/d Taranto refinery in southeast Italy.

In October 2021, Eni said it planned to begin producing 10,000 tpy of SAF in 2022 from the Livorno refinery using a feedstock of Eni Biojet, a biocomponent Eni produces from waste products such as UCO or fats using Ecofining technology at its biorefineries in Gela—on the southern coast of Sicily—and Porto Marghera.

Because it is 100% biogenic, SAF produced from Eni Biojet can be combined with conventional jet fuel up to as much as 50%, according to the operator.

A project also remains under way at the Gela biorefinery to further expand Eni Biojet production by 2024, which will allow the operator to expand SAF production from a feedstock of 100% renewable raw materials by 2025.

Currently equipped to produce 1.1 million tpy of biofuels, Eni said it plans to increase that share to 2 million tpy by 2025 and to 6 million tpy in the next decade.