Eni is investigating the production of hydrogen from non-recyclable plastic packaging waste, in partnership with the Italian consortium for collection, recycling and recovery of plastic packaging, Corepla.
The two parties signed an agreement 8 March to set up a joint working group to assess, over the next six months, research projects to produce hydrogen and high-quality biofuels from plastic waste.
The working group will analyse the market for “non-mechanically recyclable packaging” over the next few years, and the types of waste that can be used for the project, Eni said in an 8 March statement.
According to Eni, the research will target Plasmix, a collective term used for the different plastics in post-consumer packaging that are currently not recycled.
Plasmix is generally burned for energy recovery and sometimes ends up in landfill.
The new project will seek to find new ways to transform the packaging waste into new raw materials.
The move is in alignment with Eni's strategy to apply the principles of the circular economy in its business.
The company has been producing biofuels from used cooking and frying oil, animal fat and other non-edible waste, in Porto Marghera since 2014.
Here, hydrogen is an essential part of the production process, according to Eni.
It neutralises the oxygen in vegetable oil and converts the triglycerides into paraffins and isoparaffins, thereby completely removing the sulphur, nitrogen and polyaromatic hydrocarbons from the biofuel.