Eni’s first cargo of vegetable oil for biorefining produced in Kenya has left Mombasa port on its way to Gela’s biorefinery.
This marks the beginning of the transport and logistics system that will support the country’s value chain, beginning with 2,500 tons of production by the end of 2022 and rapidly scaling up to 20,000 tons in 2023.
The vegetable oil is produced at the Makueni agri-hub, a pressing plant that the company plans to open in July 2022 and will process castor, croton, and cotton seeds.
These are agri-feedstock that are not in competition with the food chain, are grown in degraded areas, are harvested from spontaneous trees, or are the result of the valorization of agricultural by-products, and provide income and market access to thousands of farmers.
Seed protein is also used to make feed and biofertilizers at the center, which helps raise livestock and improves food security.
“Three months after the Makueni agri-hub opened, we are launching the export of vegetable oil for biorefineries, using a vertical integration model that promotes sustainable local development while valorizing the supply chain for biofuels production.” “These are the seeds of a new energy, a concrete step to decarbonize transport with an innovative approach that will begin in Kenya and extend to Congo in the next year, with the goal of gradually involving the other African countries and geographic areas where we are carrying out these projects,” said Claudio Descalzi, Eni’s Chief Executive Officer.
Eni Kenya, its supply chain, and all agri-feedstock developed are all ISCC-EU (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) certified, one of the main voluntary standards recognized by the European Commission for biofuel certification (RED II).
Eni was the first company in the world to certify castor and croton and to enable an African cotton mill to meet these assurance standards, opening up new markets for local farmers.
Eni will begin work on the project in Kenya in 2021, following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Kenyan institutions.
The initiative envisions the construction of additional agri-hubs, the second of which will be operational in 2023, as well as increased production with the participation of tens of thousands of farmers, all of which will contribute significantly to the country’s rural development and long-term value creation.
In addition to vegetable oil, Eni has already begun to export Used Cooking Oil (UCO) collected from Nairobi hotel chains, restaurants, and bars, as part of an ongoing project that promotes the culture of recycling, raises awareness of the environmental and health benefits of proper waste oil disposal, and generates income from waste.
Kenya is the driving force behind Eni’s agro-industrial initiatives, which currently include Congo, Mozambique, Angola, Ivory Coast, Benin, Rwanda, and Kazakhstan. Feasibility studies have been launched in the most mature realities for these countries, as well as for Italy, with the goal of carrying out the first phase of agricultural activities beginning in 2022 and then proceeding with the construction of seeds-pressing plants for bio-refining.
The first cargo of vegetable oil will be delivered to Eni’s Gela biorefinery, which opened in 2019. This is one of Europe’s most innovative plants; it has high operational flexibility, processing various types of feedstock, and an authorized capacity of 750,000 tonnes/year.
The company aims to cover 35% of its biorefinery supply by 2025 through vertical integration of the agri-feedstock and waste&residue chains, allowing it to secure volumes of vegetable oil in a challenging environment in terms of prices, rising energy demand, and the availability of sustainable oils.