Italian state-controlled energy giant, Eni SPA, is awaiting government clearance to proceed with the construction of its third biofuel production plant in Livorno, Italy. The proposed project, part of the government’s green investment plan for the next five years, involves an estimated investment of about INR 800 billion (USD 9.65 billion/EUR 8.87 billion).
Eni’s ambitious plan includes the development of three key facilities: a biogenic feedstock pre-treatment unit, a 500,000 tonnes/year Ecofining plant, and a facility to produce hydrogen from methane gas. Ecofining, a trademarked technology developed by Eni in collaboration with Honeywell UOP, aims to transform biogenic raw materials into biofuels.
The proposed project aligns with Eni’s broader strategy to raise its biorefining capacity from the current 1.65 million tons per annum (MMtpa) to over 5.0 MMtpa, as part of the company’s commitment to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050.
The Livorno industrial site in the Tuscany region has been earmarked for transformation through the project. Eni has already initiated the shutdown of the traditional Livorno refinery, ensuring fuel distribution in the area through the import of finished and semi-finished products.
The project, slated to commence construction pending regulatory approval, includes the establishment of a biorefinery with a processing capacity of up to one million tonnes of green hydrogen per year. Eni aims to leverage its expertise in industrial products, along with Chiyoda Corporation’s plant engineering proficiency, to optimize benefits, including lower costs, increased production efficiency, and enhanced stability for the electrolysis systems required for green hydrogen production.
The Livorno biorefinery is designed to process various biogenic feedstocks, primarily vegetable waste and residue, to produce hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO), HVO naphtha, and bio-liquefied petroleum gas. Eni’s HVO biodiesel, known as HVOlution, is expected to deliver emission reductions of up to 90 percent relative to the benchmark European Union fossil fuel blend.
Eni, through its sustainable mobility brand Enilive, is already a significant player in the biofuel market. The company produces biofuels and aims to meet the increasing demand in Europe and Italy for biofuels in the mobility sector. Forecasts predict a 65 percent increase in demand for hydrogenated biofuels globally between 2024 and 2028.
The Livorno project represents another step in Eni’s growth strategy, which includes expanding its biofuel production globally. Eni had earlier announced a joint venture agreement with LG Chem Ltd. for a biorefinery in South Korea, and a pact with Saipem SPA for potential biofuel production plants as part of its decarbonization goals.
With the European Council adopting a binding target for renewables in the energy mix and Italy mandating the blending of biofuels with diesel and gasoline, Eni’s Livorno project aligns with the evolving regulatory landscape and growing emphasis on sustainable energy solutions.