Italian oil and gas company Eni announced on 19 March that production has started at its Gela biorefinery.

Eni said the plant’s new Biomass Treatment Unit (BTU) would enable up to 100% of the biomass from used cooking oil (UCO) and fats from fish and meat processing to be used in the production of biodiesel, bio-naphtha, bio-LPG and bio-jet.

Following a project to grow castor plants on semi-desert land in Tunisia, castor oil will also be used to feed the Gela biorefinery. This would lead to the complete replacement of palm oil which Eni said would not be used in its production processes from 2023.

The plant’s construction began in early 2020 and the BTU completes the second phase of the project.

Eni said it is committed to achieving the total decarbonisation of its products and processes by 2050.

The company’s 2021-2024 plan provides for the doubling of production capacity at its biorefineries to around 2M tonnes by 2024, and increasing to 5/6M tonnes by 2050.