Bioplastics producer Novamont inks joint venture with Eni

Bioplastics producer Novamont…
Polimeri Europa subsidiary creates bioplastics joint venture with Novamont. New EUR 500m hub to be built in ailing Porto Torres.

At the end of May, Italian energy giant Eni (officially jumped the bioplastics bandwagon when announcing that it had signed a Green Chemistry joint venture with leading bioplastics producer Novamont. Representatives of rank and file – including the Italian prime minister’s undersecretary Gianni Letta, environment minister Stefania Prestigiacomo, economic development minister Paolo Romani, labour and social affairs minister Maurizio Sacconi as well as the Sardinia region’s president Ugo Cappellacci – attended the signing ceremony between Novamont CEO Catia Bastioli and Eni CEO Paolo Scaroni.

The agreement foresees the establishment of a new EUR 500m Green Centre at Porto Torres – a site that has been in the news as part of the fledgling efforts of Vinyls Italia

The new plan calls for the site’s petrochemical plant, owned by Eni subsidiary Polimeri Europa, to house a new green centre, whose production facilities, proprietary technologies and feedstocks will be provided by Novamont. The new centre will be completely chain-integrated with the development of local crops. In return, Eni will provide the site, the infrastructure and the skilled labour.

Altogether, the plans for the new Porto Torres Green Centre will involve three stages. In the first instance, the jv partners will focus on building facilities to produce biomonomers for bioplastics, bio lubricants and bio additives for elastomers. Phase two will involve the construction of new biofiller and bio additive facilities. The final stage foresees a raise in capacities and the building of a bioplastics plant.

For Eni (and Polimeri Europa), the new centre and partnership with Novamont opens the path to becoming a green chemistry leader. According to the two companies’ mutual press release announcing the project, “though this strategic alliance between Polimeri Europa and Novamont, Eni believes that it can become a world leader in the bioplastics sector, a 100% Italian leader, which may bring numerous advantages for Italy.”