Eni has begun recycling urban organic waste to make bio-oil for next-generation fuels, a first major step towards building industrial plants with key environmental benefits for large urban areas, the Italian energy giant said in a statement on Thursday.
Eni’s environmental services company Syndial began operating its pilot plant at the the Gela refinery. The plant transforms Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste (OFMSW) by converting it into bio-oil, the statement said.
Using waste-to-fuel technology, the process of converting biomass into energy can be completed in just a few hours with a low environmental impact, Eni said. Additionally, the technology generates water - a precious by-product that is an increasingly scarce resource - for both civil and industrial usage, according to the statement.
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 percent. Following completion of the pilot phase, Eni will build waste-to-fuel plants on an industrial scale, which through reuse will eliminate much organic waste in cities in Italy and abroad, Eni stated.
The Gela pilot plant has a bio-oil production capacity of approximately 70 kilogrammes per day and is supplied with 700 kg of organic waste per day by SRR, a waste management company in Ragusa.
The pilot plant's activity will allow Eni to gather the data needed to inform the design of future plants, said the statement.
"The waste-to-fuel project is a tangible example of Eni’s integrated circular economy model in action," the company stated.
"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," the statement added.
The production of bio oil from OFMSW will also enable Eni to make a contribution to the areas where it operates by offering support to the municipal waste disposal system, the statement concluded.