Syndial, Eni’s environmental services company, has begun operating at its pilot plant at the Gela refinery. The plant transforms organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) by recycling it into bio-oil, which can then be used to produce next-generation fuels. The plant represents the first milestone in a process driven by Eni’s own research and launched with the development of the proprietary waste-to-fuel technology created by Eni’s Renewable Energy and Environmental R&D Center in Novara.
Through waste-to-fuel technology, the process of converting biomass into energy can be completed in just a few hours with a low environmental impact. Additionally, the technology generates a byproduct that is a precious and increasingly scarce resource: water, for both civil and industrial usage. Wet waste is exploited not only by producing bio-oil and biomethane, but also by recycling and treating its water content, which is around 70%, in a system which will provide great benefits for society.
Through these operations, Eni is putting in place another major pillar for a strategy characterised by an integrated circular economy model. Following the completion of the pilot phase, Eni will build waste-to-fuel plants on an industrial scale, which will eliminate a great amount of organic waste through reuse and provide significant environmental benefits to large urban areas in Italy and abroad.
The activity at the Gela plant will enable Eni to gather the data needed to inform the design of future plants. The Gela pilot plant has a bio-oil production capacity of approximately 70 kilograms per day and is supplied with 700 kg of organic waste per day by SRR, a waste management company in Ragusa.
The waste-to-fuel project is a tangible example of Eni’s integrated circular economy model in action. In addition to repurposing reclaimed or disused sites, Eni extracts value from raw materials found in waste by transforming them into new energy materials with zero impact on the food chain. Simultaneously, Eni contributes to the areas where it operates by offering support to the municipal waste disposal system.