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LG Chem and Enilive Sign Pact For Biorefinery in South Korea

Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf Balogun
Yusuf is a law graduate and freelance journalist with a keen interest in tech reporting.

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In a significant stride towards sustainable energy, two leading companies in the energy and chemical sectors – LG Chem and Enilive have signed a joint venture agreement, setting the stage for the construction of a cutting-edge biorefinery in South Korea.

The biorefinery will use Eni’s Ecofining technology to process renewable bio-feedstocks and produce multiple products, including Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), and bio-naphtha.

The agreement was signed in Rome by Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi and LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol, who expressed their commitment to collaborate towards the common goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The biorefinery project is expected to reach the final investment decision in 2024 and to be completed by 2026.

LG Chem and Enilive’s Biorefinery

The biorefinery will be located at LG Chem’s integrated petrochemical complex in Daesan, South Korea, which is one of the largest and most advanced complexes in Asia. The biorefinery will leverage the existing infrastructure and synergies with the petrochemical operations, as well as the availability of renewable bio-feedstocks in the region.

The biorefinery will have a processing capacity of approximately 400,000 tons of renewable bio-feedstocks annually, which will enable the production of about 250,000 tons of SAF, 100,000 tons of HVO, and 50,000 tons of bio-naphtha. These products will meet the growing demand for low-carbon fuels and chemicals in South Korea and beyond, as well as contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the enhancement of energy security.

A New Step Towards a Sustainable Future

According to the duo firms, the biorefinery will use Eni’s Ecofining technology, which is a proprietary and patented technology developed by Eni and licensed by Enilive, a company directly controlled by Eni. The technology allows the conversion of vegetable oils, animal fats, used cooking oils, and other waste oils into high-quality biofuels and bio-chemicals, with superior performance and lower environmental impact than fossil fuels.

LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol underscores the significance of this agreement, portraying it as a collective effort toward achieving the common goal of Net Zero. In his words:

“This agreement holds significant meaning as it represents the collaboration and joint effort of global leading companies towards the common goal of ‘Net Zero’.” He further stated, “LG Chem will actively support the successful execution of this project and, moving forward, will solidify its position as a leading company in the eco-friendly plastic industry, achieving sustainable development and carbon neutrality as a true global entity.”

Expanding Enilive Biorefining Presence in the International Market

On his part, Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi stated that aside from reaching net zero emissions by 2050, the joint venture agreement will also increase the number of decarbonized products for their clients and expand their presence in the international market.

“Biofuel production is one of the main pillars of our strategy to contribute to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 also through the sale of increasingly decarbonized products to our clients. The biorefinery project we are working on together with LG Chem is a key element to expanding Enilive’s biorefining presence internationally, raising its capacity from the current 1.65 million tons/year to over 5 million tons/year by 2030 and increasing the optionality of SAF production to up to 2 million tons/year from 2030.”

In this effort, which is a strategic pact for innovation and growth in the energy and chemical sectors, LG Chem and Eni will pool their knowledge and experience. Leading the world in the manufacturing of batteries, sophisticated materials, and petrochemicals with a strong emphasis on sustainability and the circular economy is LG Chem. Eni is a multinational energy corporation that leads the industry in the creation of biofuels from waste and residues. Its activities span the whole energy value chain.

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