Eni and FCA sign research agreement to reduce CO2 emissions from road transport vehicles

Italy’s oil and gas company Eni and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) have signed a research agreement for joint projects to significantly reduce CO2 emissions produced by road transport vehicles.

In the presence of the Italian Prime Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, the chief executive of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, and the chief executive of FCA, Sergio Marchionne, signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the joint development of research projects and technological applications aimed at reducing CO2emissions from road transport vehicles at the Palazzo Chigi in Rome, Italy on November 21, 2017.

The two companies, renewing their strategic commitment to a low-carbon future and in line with Italy’s National Energy Strategy, are combining their respective expertise, experiences and technological know-how to significantly reduce the sector’s level of CO2 emissions.

“Today we have signed an agreement between two great companies in Italy that share a commitment to a low carbon future. Bringing our technological know-how and research skills together with FCA’s, with the support of the Italian Prime Minister, is an important initiative in this direction,” said Eni’s Descalzi.

“It is a strategic path for Eni and signifies our commitments in a number of areas.  In the area of mobility, Eni has already taken several important steps, for example in developing innovative, low-emission green fuels. This is part of an integrated strategy that ranges from the reduction of CO2 emissions in all our activities to the promotion of natural gas as a clean fossil fuel to serve as a bridge in the transition to renewables, and from the testing of green and alternative fuels to renewable energy research. “

“Our collaboration with Eni marks a big step forward. I am delighted that we can also count on the support of the Italian government in a phase that sees the two most important companies in Italy combining their efforts and skills for an incisive and permanent reduction of emissions. This is a shared goal that reflects a sense of responsibility and a commitment to the world we want to leave to future generations,” said FCA’s Marchionne.

Eni and FCA have identified the following areas of cooperation:

  • The development of technologies and materials to absorb natural gas, Absorbed Natural Gas (ANG), which will make it possible to improve existing technologies linked to compressed natural gas (CNG) in the automotive sector. This collaboration will involve the study of technologies and absorbing materials that will permit the transport of compressed gas (CNG) at a much lower pressure, reducing the weight of tanks and increasing the mileage per refill.
  • The development of new technologies for the use of gas in transport. These would facilitate the use of compressed (CNG) and liquefied (LNG) gas, as well as of methanol, which allows emission reductions when it is added to traditional fuel. Eni has developed a new type of petrol containing alternative fuels (15% methanol and 5% bioethanol), which produces lower emissions and is currently being jointly tested with FCA. This new fuel will be used by five Fiat 500 vehicles from the Enjoy fleet, Eni’s car-sharing service that was created in partnership with FCA, in an extensive road test. Use of this new petrol can ensure a reduction of more than 4% of CO2 emissions (2% in the combustion phase and a further 2.3% derived from the fuel production cycle and due to the organic component).  In addition, to extend the use of car sharing and underline the versatility and flexibility of compressed gas, the Enjoy fleet will be expanded to include Fiat Doblò vans in the new Enjoy Cargo service, starting at the beginning of next year. This will constitute the world’s first case of vehicle sharing for the transport of goods, without the need to pick-up and return vans from or to a fixed point. 20% of the Fiat Doblò fleet will be powered by methane.
  • The realization, which will benefit also from the collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), of technologies and devices for the capture and temporary storage of part of CO2 produced by internal combustion engines. With road transport vehicles responsible for around 23% of total CO2 emissions, and the share of light vehicles alone reaching about 10%, this would result in a significant reduction of the transport sector’s CO2 emissions.
  • To reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions further, the parties also confirmed their shared interest in assessing new fuel types for use in existing vehicles, without the need for substantial mechanical changes. Among other things, this includes diesel types with a higher proportion of hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) than today, petrol with higher alcohol content, including from renewable sources and/or waste, and the use of new “friction-reducing” additives.

Finally, the two companies have agreed to launch and implement new partnerships with Italian and international universities aimed at creating and training new professional profiles for the future.