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Eni and RenOils collaborate to boost UCO collection from Italian households

In Italy, oil and gas major Eni S.p.A. and the national vegetable and animal oils and fats consortium RenOils, have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to further promote the recovery of used vegetable oils from Italian households. The agreement also includes information and environmental education campaigns to get across the benefits of reusing oil to produce fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels.

On February 14, 2019, Ennio Fano, President of RenOils (left) and Giuseppe Ricci, Eni Chief
Refining & Marketing Officer, signed a Letter of Intenet (LoI) to further promote the recovery
of used cooking oils (UCO) in Italy. The agreement also includes information and environmental
education campaigns to convey the benefits of reusing oil to produce biofuel and awareness-raising
projects for trade associations and consumer and environmental associations (photo courtesy Eni).

The RenOils consortium was established in 2016 to ensure the correct management of the collection, transport, storage, processing and reuse of vegetable oils and animal fats in Italy. Eni currently makes use of approximately 50 percent of the used cooking oil (UCO) available in Italy and, in part thanks to RenOils-member regeneration companies, will extend its capacity to produce high-quality biofuel from this waste in the company’s bio-refinery in Venice, at Porto Marghera, and soon also in Gela.

According to Eni, the letter of Intent (LoI) signed on February 14, 2019, represents “one of many initiatives” that demonstrate the company’s commitment to creating virtuous models and promoting a circular-economy. These waste materials will be purified and regenerated, then transformed into high-quality biofuels in Italian industrial facilities, harnessing a national energy resource to the fullest possible extent.

Increase UCO collection from households

The goal is to increase collection and proper disposal, since used oils from households are currently wasted almost entirely. Around 75 000 tonnes of waste food oil was collected in 2018, almost exclusively from the food service and industrial sectors, which represent just 25 percent of the oil produced in Italy, which in turn totals around 280 000 tonnes per annum.

The majority of UCO from homes ends up down the drain since most people are unaware that using the sewage network to dispose of cooking oil can have serious consequences for the environment. As well as clogging domestic drains, and the sewage network as a whole, increasing maintenance costs, disposal through the sewage network impair the correct operation of the purification systems and increases those costs too.

One litre of oil generates up to four kilograms of sewage sludge which then needs to be treated as waste, can arrive at aquifers and make the water undrinkable and pollute surface water – lakes, rivers and seas – harming the ecosystem, flora and fauna. If it ends up in water, it forms a film that prevents the passage of sunlight, causing damage to the wateer environment.

RenOils to boost UCO recovery

RenOils aims to make an efficient contribution to the Italian system for recycling used oil and to boost collection. There are 254 member associations and companies from the supply chain to date, from food oil producers to recycling and waste recovery organisations. The Consortium acts collectively to achieve the environmental targets established by the Italian Ministry of the Environment for the sector.

In collaboration with Tor Vergata University of Rome, RenOils has produced the first used vegetable and animal oils and fats monitoring system for the sector, which operates on a geographical basis and can be used on a web platform. This tracking is fundamentally important for the purposes of the agreement with Eni for reusing vegetable oil to produce biofuel.

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