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  • Eni S.p.A.

Eni, Euglena, Petronas explore renewable diesel, SAF project in Malaysia

Eni, Euglena and Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) announced Dec. 14 they are jointly studying the possibility of developing and operating a biorefinery in the Pengerang Integrated Complex, one of the largest integrated refinery and petrochemical developments in Southeast Asia.

The three parties are currently carrying out technical and economic feasibility assessments for the proposed project, with the investment decision expected to be reached by 2023 and the plant targeted for completion by 2025.

To be located adjacent to Petronas’ existing integrated refinery and petrochemical facilities, the biorefinery will be able to leverage the company’s integrated value chain as well as existing utilities and facilities in PIC.

The complex’s strategic location with easy access to major international shipping lanes will also enhance the planned biorefinery’s ability to cater to the rising demand for sustainable solutions worldwide.

The biorefinery is expected to have a flexible configuration to maximize the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for aircraft as well as hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), also called renewable diesel, for on-road vehicles, diesel-powered trains, and marine transportation. This flexibility will enable the production to meet the everchanging and growing energy demands of customers.

The biorefinery is also expected to have the capability to process about 650,000 metric tons per year of raw materials to produce up to approximately 180 million to 190 million gallons per year (mgy) of SAF, HVO, and bionaphtha.

The raw materials to be used will not compete with those in the food chain such as used vegetable oils, animal fats, waste from the processing of vegetable oils, and other biomass including microalgae oils to be explored in the mid-term.

The planned biorefinery will use the Honeywell UOP’s Ecofining™ process, which was developed by Eni in cooperation with Honeywell UOP.

“For the biorefinery project to develop together with Euglena and Petronas in Malaysia, Eni is pleased to share its experience and its breakthrough technologies that enabled the company to make the world’s first conversion of a refinery into a biorefinery in Porto Marghera, Venice, Italy, in 2014, and to inaugurate a second one in Gela, Sicily, in 2019,” said Giuseppe Ricci, Eni’s chief operating officer for energy evolution.

Eni plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 through a decarbonization pathway that aims to reduce the emissions generated throughout the entire products lifecycle.

Eni Biojet is SAF produced at Eni’s Livorno refinery in cooperation with its Gela biorefinery. It is mixed 20 percent into Eni’s jet fuel and, from 2024, production of an additional 50 mgy of Eni Biojet will be started in Gela, able to meet the potential blending obligation of the Italian market for 2025.

Euglena is Japan’s leading biotechnology-driven and sustainability-oriented growth company. With its R&D capabilities such as mass cultivation technology of the microalgae Euglena, the company completed Japan’s first demonstration plant producing renewable jet and diesel fuels in 2018 and has supplied its products to corporates and organizations covering land, air and marine areas across the country. Recently, Euglena became Japan’s first supplier that introduced domestic SAF to the hydrant system of Narita International Airport and completed Japan’s first supply of SAF to the governmental aircraft of Japan.

“This project is a significant step for the commercialization of our biofuel business and our challenge to expediting biofuel usages and decarbonization in Japan,” said Mitsuru Izumo, Euglena’s founder and president. “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to work with the great partners of respective expertise and stride together for a brighter and cleaner future.”

Ahmad Adly Alias, vice president of refining, marketing and trading of Petronas’ downstream business, added, “As Petronas continues to chart its course into the biofuels space, decarbonizing and diversifying its production portfolio to cater for the rising global demand for sustainable solutions, this collaboration is momentous to unlock the partners’ respective strengths and jointly strengthen our position in the field of biofuels in Malaysia and around the world.”

Petronas is the first Asian energy company to declare its aspiration for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and had recently been involved in a partnership to supply SAF for Malaysia Airlines’ first commercial cargo and passenger flights using the cleaner and more viable fuel option. It is also exploring other ventures into the biofuels space via coprocessing at its existing facilities and other channels.


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