Italy’s Oil Giant Taps Mediterranean Diet to Turn Fats into Fuel
(The Edge Markets/Bloomberg) … The government, driven by European Union renewable-fuel targets and a national diet rich in olive oil, is luring producers with financial incentives. As a result, Ai Due Otri is just one of about 100,000 restaurants nationwide recycling their grease. But Italy must persuade households to do the same if Eni is to process as much as it plans.
“Italy is a country where we make large use of vegetable cooking oils,” said Giuseppe Ricci, chief refining and marketing officer at Eni. Recycling them reduces the quantity of edible crops needed to make biofuels and cuts the volume of waste clogging up drains, he said.
The initiative is given impetus by the EU, which aims to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020 and offers payments for biofuel production in a bid to attract investment in the industry.
Eni’s bio-refinery in Venice can process 360,000 tonnes a year of vegetable oil and other fats and feedstocks. An upgrade at the plant in 2020 will allow it to process 600,000 tonnes, yielding about 420,000 tonnes of biodiesel — a significant quantity considering Italy’s total biofuel output in 2015 was 575,000 tonnes. Eni also plans to invest 240 million euros (US$282 million) to build a second bio-refinery in Gela, Sicily.
Yet the incentive for families to take leftover oil to a waste station remains limited. While collection points are increasing, they rarely get full and about two-thirds of the oil that could be reprocessed isn’t turned in, according to Campanile.
Conoe will start an awareness-raising campaign next year to encourage households to participate. READ MORE