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Biofuels

Italy’s Eni to develop a sustainable biofuel industry in Kenya

ENI - cleanbuild
Credit: eni.com

Italy’s leading energy company Eni, through its subsidiary Eni Kenya, and Kenya’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mining have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to help Kenya adopt new industrial models of fully integrated circular economy across the whole biofuel production value chain.

This collaboration comes at a time when Kenya has embarked on a decarbonization process to address its waste problems and global climate change.

In line with its goal, the country is fast-tracking its circular economy initiatives including the recovery, regeneration, and reuse of agricultural and food waste in the biofuel industry.

Both parties will jointly conduct feasibility studies to develop waste and residue collection as well as agricultural projects.

A major reason for this is to establish a wide range of feedstock sources- that do not compete with food cycles- to be converted into biofuels and bio-products that might contribute to feeding Eni’s bio-refineries in Gela and Venice, Italy.

The parties will also assess the possibilities of transitioning Mombasa refinery into a bio-refinery, as well as the construction of a new plant for second-generation bio-ethanol from waste biomass, leveraging on Eni technologies Ecofining, e Proesa.

Innovative use of waste bring long-reaching benefits

The agri-focused development project is to develop sustainable oil crop cultivations, that is, low ILUC (indirect land-use change) feedstock such as cover crops, castor in degraded lands, croton trees in agroforestry systems, and other agro-industrial co-products.

The waste and residue collection would be used to promote and implement a collection system for used cooked oil (UCO) and other agro-processing residues.

This initiative will not only result in diversifying Kenya’s energy mix and supporting the overall decarbonization process but also decreasing the country’s reliance on imports of petroleum products.

Other expected benefits include developing sustainable agricultural activities and a circular economy, producing power from renewable sources, fostering the economic competitiveness of the local industry, and creating new jobs.

At an international level, the agreement conforms to the objectives of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and to the UN Sustainable Development Goals; at the national level, it contributes to the implementation of the Kenya Bioenergy Strategy, Updated Nationally Determined Contribution, Kenya’s National Development Plans, including Kenya Vision 2030.

For Eni, Italy’s leading energy company, the initiatives are in keeping with its commitment to actively drive the decarbonization process, and with the Company’s target to become palm-oil-free by 2023 and to double bio-refineries capacity to around 2 million tons by 2024.

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