One year after Eni and NextChem, Maire Tecnimont's green chemistry subsidiary, signed their initial partnership agreement, the two companies are now expanding that partnership with three new projects.
Under last year’s agreement, the companies collaborated on the development and implementation of NextChem’s high-temperature gasification technology to produce hydrogen and methanol from solid urban waste and non-recyclable plastic waste. NextChem’s technology targets the green recovery of brownfield sites of traditional and heavy industries. The partnership aimed to assess the technical and financial impact of the technology, for potential implementation at Eni's industrial sites in Italy.
This latest partnership will assess the feasibility of a new circular gas production plant at the Taranto refinery, in addition to continuing the ongoing engineering studies for a waste-to-hydrogen production plant at the Eni biorefinery in Venice, Porto Marghera, and a waste-to-methanol production plant at the Eni refinery in Livorno. At Taranto, the aim is to produce new synthesis gas from plasmix – mixed plastic waste - and dry waste, through a chemical recycling process.
The gas will be then refined and produced through two separate channels: hydrogen, which can be used by the Eni refinery to assist the fuel hydrodesulfurization process; gas with a high carbon monoxide content which can be used by the steel mill both in blast furnace processes and the new Direct Reduced Iron technologies. NextChem is working on the industrial application of the project. An Eni-NextChem joint team will assess the technical and economic feasibility and plants’ streams.
NextChem’s technological solution could lead to a significant CO2 reduction from a life cycle assessment perspective when compared with the current waste-to-energy treatments available. Hence, the agreement fits within the scope of Eni’s long-term strategy to reduce absolute net GHG lifecycle emissions by 80% by 2050. The company will do so by increasing its production of green energy, and by producing gas, LNG and hydrogen from gas and from bio feedstocks, removing CO2 through sequestration and storage projects. In addition, biofuels will be produced in biorefineries as well as from waste. Methanol and hydrogen production from waste will also be explored.
Eni will also expand into chemical products from renewables and first and secondary feedstocks. NextChem’s technology reduces the need for extraction of fossil origin resources and contributes to the decarbonisation of various industrial sectors while enabling the production of chemical products with a circular origin.