Eni and NextChem Plan Circular Gas Plant

06.07.2020 - Italian energy group Eni and compatriot NextChem, the green chemistry division of contractor Maire Tecnimont, have expanded their partnership to include building a circular gas plant in Taranto, Italy, adding to projects for waste-to-hydrogen and waste-to-methanol plants.

The project complements two others that the companies are undertaking under a partnership that was announced in June 2019. Under the collaboration, which positions Eni as co-developer of NextChem’s technology, the partners are already assessing the technical and financial impact of the technology, which is to be implemented at Eni’s industrial sites. The first is a waste-to-hydrogen project at the Porto Marghera bio-refinery and the second is a waste-to-methanol plant at Livorno.

All three plants will use NextChem’s high-temperature gasification technology to chemically recycle post-consumer plastic waste (plasmix) and dry waste.

The synthesis gas output at Taranto will be refined to supply hydrogen to assist the fuel hydrodesulfurization process within Eni’s refinery. Gas with a high carbon monoxide content will be sold to a steel mill for use in its blast furnace and iron reduction processes.

Eni said the agreement is part of a long-term strategy to make it a leader in the production and commercialization of decarbonized products. The energy group aims to reduce its absolute net greenhouse gas lifecycle emissions by 80% by 2050 through a focus on green energy, carbon capture and bio-based chemicals.

Launched in 2018, NextChem regards itself as a leader in technological innovation within the circular economy and energy transition areas. The company has more than 30 projects in its portfolio that includes proprietary technologies, international licenses and technological integration contracts as well as engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) capabilities.

Partnership pools plasmix expertise

Eni, its chemicals subsidiary Versalis and the National Consortium for the Collection, Recycling and Recovery of Plastic Packaging (Corepla) have also agreed to pool their expertise in gasification and pyrolysis for the collection, recycling and recovery of waste plastic packaging, with a special focus on plasmix. They aim to launch a study plan that will exploit all the plasmix fractions available in Corepla’s chain.

The deal expands a previous agreement that Eni and Corepla signed in March last year to launch research projects to produce hydrogen and high-quality biofuels from non-recyclable plastic packaging waste.

Versalis is already designing a 6,000 t/y chemical recycling plant based on pyrolysis technology in Mantua, Italy.