Italian oil and gas firm Eni and the national waste vegetable oil and animal fats consortium, RenOils, will be working together to promote the recovery of used vegetable oils, the two institutions announced in a press release on 14 February.
Eni currently makes use of about 50% of the used cooking oil (UCO) available in Italy and will extend its capacity to produce biofuel from this waste at its bio-refinery in Porto Marghera, Venice,as well as in Gela in the future.
“The goal is to increase collection and proper disposal [of UCO], since used oils from households are currently wasted almost entirely,” the press release said. “Around 75,000 tonnes of waste food oil were collected in 2018, almost exclusively from the food service and industrial sectors, which represent just 25% of oil produced in Italy, which totals around 280,000 tonnes/year.
Used oils from households was mostly discarded down drains, clogging the drainage system and increasing maintenance costs.
“One litre of oil generates up to 4kg of sewage sludge when then needs to be treated as waste, can arrive at aquifers and make water undrinkable, and pollute surface water – lakes, rivers and seas – harming the ecosystem, flora and fauna,” the press release said.
RenOils was set up in 2016 to ensure the correct management for the collection, transport, storage, processing and reuse of vegetable oils and animal fats.
The new agreement follows a deal Eni signed with Indonesian state-owned energy company PT Pertamina in January to develop a green refinery in Indonesia to process a palm oil-based fuel mixture in Italy. In the same month, Eni launched a pilot project in Gafsa, Tunisia to grow castor oil plants and use the oil as a biofuel feedstock.