UOP and Eni plan Ecofining

Honeywell-owned UOP and Eni announced recently that Eni will build a production facility using Ecofining technology to produce diesel fuel from vegetable oils.

The facility, to be located in Livorno, Italy, will process 6,500 barrels per day of vegetable oils to supply European refineries with a high-cetane ‘green’ diesel fuel, to meet growing demand for high-quality, clean fuels and biofuels throughout Europe.

It will be the first facility to use the Ecofining technology developed by UOP and Eni. UOP has already completed the basic design for the first unit, which is expected to come online in 2009. Eni, a European oil company with operations in 70 countries and 2006 revenues of more than €86bn, also plans to install several additional Ecofining units at its other wholly owned and affiliate refineries throughout Europe.

‘This facility will provide significant value to Eni’s refining operations by producing an ultra-high-quality diesel and fulfil the proposed European target to grow the renewable energy supply to 12 percent by 2010,’ said Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni.

UOP announced its efforts to develop commercially viable solutions for renewable energy in refineries with the creation of its Renewable Energy & Chemicals business unit in late 2006. The Ecofining process for green diesel is its first renewable technology offering.

‘UOP and Eni have worked closely to develop a process for green diesel production that uses existing refinery and fuel distribution infrastructure while at the same time producing a high-quality renewable fuel,’ said Jennifer Holmgren, director of UOP’s Renewable Energy & Chemicals business unit. ‘This facility will further demonstrate the effectiveness of the Ecofining technology.’

The Ecofining process uses catalytic hydroprocessing technology to convert vegetable oils to a green diesel fuel. The product, a direct substitute for diesel fuel, features a high cetane value (the measure of the combustion quality of diesel) of approximately 80. Compared to diesel found at the pump today, which ranges from 40 to 60 cetane, green diesel offers value as a blending stock for refiners seeking to enhance existing diesel fuels and expand the diesel pool.