Italian refiner to produce green diesel with Ecofining process

By Erin Voegele | November 13, 2012

UOP LLC, a Honeywell company, has announced that Italian energy company Eni S.p.A. will implement Honeywell’s UOP/Eni Ecofining technology at is Venice facility to produce renewable diesel. According to information released by the companies, Eni’s retrofitted facility will be capable of producing more than 100 million gallons of renewable diesel annually, beginning in 2014.

UOP and Eni jointly developed the UOP/Eni Ecofining process, which uses hydroprocessing technology to convert non-edible biobased oils and fats into a drop-in diesel substitute. The resulting fuel features a cetane value of 80, which is significantly higher than the cetane range of 40 to 60 found in fossil-based diesel. The green diesel is also offers lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions of up to 80 percent.

In September Eni announced it had met with local and national institutions, as well as trade unions, to describe the production technology. The retrofit project, representing an estimated €100 million ($127 million), will be the world’s first conversion of a fossil fuel refinery to a biorefinery.

“This project truly demonstrates the flexibility of the UOP/Eni Ecofining process. Not only does it produce a drop-in fuel replacement for end-users, but refiners can operate the process by simply modifying existing assets that might otherwise go unused,” said Jim Rekoske, vice president and general manager of Honeywell’s UOP Renewable Energy and Chemicals business unit. “We applaud Eni S.p.A. for its innovative approach and vision to provide new life for aging assets in the form of a renewable fuel production unit. We look forward to working with Eni S.p.A on this project, which supports the European Union’s mandate for increased reliance on renewable energy.”

Information released by Eni earlier this year specifies that the initial conversion of the Venice refineries existing facilities is scheduled to begin during the second quarter of 2013, and be complete by the end of the year. The facilities constructed for the project will be completed during the first half of 2015.