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Eni starts production of sustainable aviation fuel in Taranto

Eni starts production of sustainable aviation fuel in Taranto
Photo of Claudio Descalzi courtesy of Eni

Italy’s integrated energy company Eni has started producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in its Taranto refinery, that will significantly contribute to the decarbonization of aviation fuel in the short- to medium-term. Eni SAFs are produced exclusively from waste and residues, in line with the company’s strategic decision not to use palm oil from 2023.

Initially, SAF is being produced in Taranto through a 0.5% used cooking oil (UCO) co-feeding process for conventional plants. This contributes to the 2% share of bio component proposed as part of the EU “Fit For 55” package. This is a first step and part of Eni’s commitment to the decarbonization of all its products and processes by 2050 for all sectors, including some of the most challenging such as the aviation, heavy vehicles and marine sectors.

Bio-refining capacity to double in four years

Eni plans to double its current bio-refining capacity of 1.1 million tonnes per year within the four-year period and increase it to 5 to 6 million tonnes per year by 2050. The so-called biojet will play a significant role in the product mix, in line with industry scenarios and market trends. The company aims to reach a production capacity of at least 500 thousand tonnes per year of biojet by 2030.

“This is a very important milestone in our journey to decarbonize and fully reflects our pragmatic approach to the energy transition. This approach involves using technology to cut emissions in sectors such as aviation, which are high emitters but at the same time need to be nurtured because they are crucial to growth and development,” said Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi.

“We are committed to being a technological leader in the energy transition, leveraging existing skills and assets, and this is a further step in that direction, as well as an important contribution at system level.”

According to the Renewable Energy Directive II, the bio share in the product typically allows for a more than 90% reduction in GHG emissions compared to standard fossil mix feedstock. This product, already available in Taranto refinery tanks, will be sold to major airlines, firstly ITA, Italy’s new national airline.

SAF production to start at Livorno refinery in 2022

Eni’s SAF production will continue to grow with the start of production of over 10 thousand tonnes per year of SAF at Eni’s Livorno refinery in early 2022, through the distillation of bio-components produced in Eni’s bio-refineries in Gela and Porto Marghera (Venice) using Eni’s proprietary Ecofining™ technology. The raw materials used will be exclusively waste products such as UCO or fats. This product, called “Eni Biojet”, contains 100% biogenic component and can be combined with conventional jet fuel in an up to 50% blend.

Growth will continue with the launch, in 2024, of “Eni Biojet” production at the Gela biorefinery, where a project is already underway for the introduction of a further 150 thousand tonnes per year of SAF from 100% renewable raw materials, capable of meeting the Italian market’s potential obligation by 2025.