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Eni and NextChem strengthen circular technologies partnership

Italy-headed oil, gas, and energy major Eni S.p.A. and NextChem Srl, the green chemistry subsidiary of compatriot Maire Tecnimont S.p.A have strengthened their partnership with a new agreement. This partnership will conduct research for a new project to be developed in Taranto, in addition to ongoing engineering studies for a waste-to-hydrogen production plant at the Eni bioefinery in Venice, Porto Marghera, and for a waste-to-methanol production plant at the Eni refinery in Livorno.

In Italy, Eni S.p.A. and NextChem Srl, the green chemistry subsidiary of compatriot Maire Tecnimont S.p.A are to strengthen their partnership after their first agreement from 12 months ago and signed a new agreement on June 25, 2020. This partnership will conduct research for a new project to be developed in Taranto, in addition to ongoing engineering studies for a waste-to-hydrogen production plant at the Eni bioefinery in Venice, Porto Marghera, and for a waste-to-methanol production plant at the Eni refinery in Livorno (photo courtesy NextChem).

The new agreement signed on June 25, 2020, is part of the long-term strategy which will make Eni a leader in the production and commercialization of decarbonized products. Eni is implementing a strategic plan which it says is “unique in the industry” and which will allow the company to reduce absolute net greenhouse (GHG) lifecycle emissions by 80 percent by 2050.

Eni will increase its production of green energy, thus developing renewables. It will also produce gas, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and hydrogen from gas and from bio feedstocks, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) through sequestration and storage projects; and it will produce biofuels from its biorefineries as well as biofuels, methanol, and hydrogen from waste.

Use NextChem chemical recycling technology

Furthermore, it will produce chemical products from renewables and first and secondary feedstocks. In particular, NextChem’s technological solution could lead to a significant carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction from a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) perspective, when compared with the available waste-to-energy (WtE) treatments of waste plastics mix (plasmix) and post-consumer dry waste.

Leveraging the principles of the circular economy, the projects are set to have a positive impact on the environment. This phase is aimed at assessing the feasibility of a plant within the Taranto refinery for the production of new synthesis gas (syngas) from plasmix and dry waste through a chemical recycling process.

The gas produced will be then refined and produced through two separate channels: hydrogen, which can be used by the Eni refinery to assist the fuel hydrodesulphurization process; gas with a high carbon monoxide content which can be used by the steel mill both in blast furnace processes and the new Direct Reduced Iron technologies.

These studies could make a significant contribution in terms of decarbonization of the steel industry.

NextChem is working on the industrial application of the project. An Eni-NextChem joint team will assess the technical and economic feasibility and plant streams. The involvement of local institutions will be crucial.

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