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Eni eyes turning non-recyclable waste to hydrogen

By
Renzo Pipoli
Eni Chief Refining & Marketing Officer Giuseppe Ricci (L) and COREPLA President Antonello Ciotti have signed an accord to explore ways to produce hydrogen from waste plastics. Photo courtesy Eni
Eni Chief Refining & Marketing Officer Giuseppe Ricci (L) and COREPLA President Antonello Ciotti have signed an accord to explore ways to produce hydrogen from waste plastics. Photo courtesy Eni

March 11 (UPI) -- Italian state oil company Eni has signed an accord with the country's waste collection and recycling organization to research commercial possibilities to get hydrogen from waste.

The agreement with the National Consortium for the Collection, Recycling and Recovery of Plastic Packaging, known as Corepla, aims "to launch research projects to produce hydrogen from non-recyclable plastic packaging waste," Eni said.

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The agreement "defines the joint working group that will, over the next six months, assess the launching of research projects to produce hydrogen and high-quality biofuels from plastic waste," Eni added.

The project will focus on waste products resulting from plastic packaging that currently have "no use in the market of recycling" to explore potential for energy recovery. Eni has experience working with recovering energy.

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Since 2014, Eni has produced biofuels from used cooking and frying oil, animal fat and other non-edible waste, in Porto Marghera, Venice and Sicily.

"Hydrogen is an essential part of the production process, as it neutralizes the oxygen in vegetable oil and converts the triglycerides into paraffins and isoparaffins, thereby completely removing the sulphur, nitrogen and polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the biofuel," Eni said.

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Eni is also working on a separate "Waste to Fuel" project in which a pilot plant has been built to test production of bio-oil and biomethane taken from municipal solid waste. The results may lead to production on an industrial scale at the plants in Ravenna in the North Adriatic Sea, Porto Marghera and possibly other disused industrial sites in Italy and other countries.

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According to the consortium website, it has about 2,700 associated companies including those that make plastics for packaging and organizations involved in recycling.

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