Versalis and Saipem together to produce sustainable bioethanol

Source: press releases, 24 June 2021

The Versalis Crescentino biomass chemicals plant (photo: Eni)
The Versalis Crescentino biomass chemicals plant (photo: Eni)

Versalis, Eni’s chemical company, and Saipem, an engineering and technological platform for sustainability, have signed an agreement to internationally promote PROESA®, Versalis’ proprietary technology used to produce sustainable bioethanol and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass.

Versalis and Saipem will provide integrated and technologically advanced solutions for the sustainable production of bioethanol. The PROESA® process does not use crops intended for human consumption as a raw material, but rather produces second generation bioethanol (referred to as advanced biofuel by EU) through a process of hydrolysis and subsequent fermentation of agricultural biomasses available in abundance, such as agricultural waste, wood chips and energy crops.

Versalis will manage the commercial aspects relating to the granting of licence rights of the PROESA® technology and will provide engineering, assistance, and training services. Saipem will be responsible for all the stages of production plants development, from design to construction. Furthermore, the two companies will collaborate with a dedicated joint team to further developments in the industrial process. The Versalis plant in Crescentino (Vercelli), where the PROESA® technology was developed, will be the reference plant for international marketing by the two companies.

Versalis, in line with Eni’s broader decarbonisation strategy, has launched a transformation plan that aims for its activities and products to be increasingly diversified and sustainable, providing a technological contribution to the circular economy. The agreement represents a unity of purpose with Saipem, a partner recognised worldwide in the field of design and in the construction of complex, reliable and optimised industrial plants.

Saipem, which has launched a strategy focused on energy transition, is expanding its offer of “green” chemical technologies with this agreement, meeting the growing national and international demand for sustainable and low environmental impact processes.

Adriano Alfani, CEO of Versalis comments, “The agreement signed with Saipem will play a fundamental role in the international positioning of Versalis’ proprietary technology, developed entirely in Italy, in the field of chemicals obtained from renewable sources. The objective is for this innovative technology, which is an integral part of our sustainable transformation plan within Eni’s broader decarbonisation strategy, to contribute to the development of renewable products in a globally growing chemical sector.”

Francesco Caio, Saipem CEO, comments, “The global demand for bioethanol is expected to grow in the coming years and with Versalis we intend to meet it by leveraging a technology that is among the most promising. This agreement represents an opportunity for both companies in terms of growth and competitive advantage and is a further example of our strategy focused on the development of ‘green’ technologies for the energy transition.”