Eni, Coldiretti sign MoU for joint projects relating to the circular economy

Eni, Coldiretti sign MoU for joint projects relating to the circular economy
Published: 7 July 2019 - 6 a.m.
By: Martin Menachery
The president of the Confederazione Nazionale Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini, and the chief executive officer of Eni, Claudio Descalzi, in the presence of Italy's minister of economic development, labour and social policies, Luigi Di Maio, have signed a memorandum of understanding outlining key areas for collaboration with regards to the circular economy.

The agreement will enable Eni and Coldiretti to implement joint initiatives in the following fields: using agricultural biomass to produce advanced biofuels for the energy sector, biochemicals, and by-products – also for zootechnical purposes – or inputs for agriculture like biofertilisers; researching and promoting crops that can be used as alternative sources for green refineries that do not compete with the food chain; sustainably managing products at the end of their lifespans by minimising the amount of waste generated with regards to the food industry, transport and packaging; generally promoting sustainable agriculture that focuses on optimising energy consumption, protecting environmental factors and promoting the sustainable use of water, as well as using digital tools and renewable technologies.

The two parties will also examine potential initiatives designed to capitalise on industrial synergies and pool facilities, assets and expertise. This will involve, for example, looking at integrated agri-industrial systems by producing cooperative models based on types of crops that are suitable for use as raw materials for industrial cycles in the green chemistry sector, enhancing waste and by-products; they will share marginal land for crops that can be used to produce advanced biofuels, including biomethane; they will consider integrating the recovery of brownfield sites that have been redeveloped for photovoltaic purposes and biomethane production, as well as joint energy needs in the agricultural sphere; they will perform phytoremediation crop studies and trials and look at the possibility of integrating waste water and purified water from industrial sites with the demand for irrigation systems in the agricultural sphere.

Eni and Coldiretti will also consider potential sustainable development initiatives both in Italy and abroad. They will look at projects designed to diversify local economies, notably in Africa, with a view to giving local populations the expertise they need to develop crops using advanced technologies that have less of an impact on the local ecosystem; in the countries in which Eni already operates, they will look at projects designed to support local agricultural networks with a view to developing crops that can be used to produce biofuels, or support industrial initiatives.

Finally, the parties will implement various joint education and information initiatives focusing on sustainable development, such as outlining programmes for improving knowledge of the principles of the circular economy aimed at schools and universities; collaboration with the main national and international research centres, taking advantage of the corresponding networks, with a view to trialling innovative crops and adopting appropriate technologies for sustainably managing the agricultural industry; involvement in European research tenders and projects and the Rural Development Programme (PSR, Programma di Sviluppo Rurale).

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