Venice's 'Vaporettos' Fueled With Biodiesel From Used Cooking Oil

For seven months, the waterbuses of Venice will be fueled with renewable biodiesel produced through the conversion of used vegetable cooking oil.

A view of Venice from a vaporetto (Photo by Cecilia Tosi)
By Ylenia Granitto
Apr. 2, 2018 10:52 UTC
A view of Venice from a vaporetto (Photo by Cecilia Tosi)

According to the con­cept of cir­cu­lar econ­omy and fol­low­ing a model of sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, the oil used by Venetians for cook­ing and fry­ing will become a bio­fuel for the pub­lic trans­port ves­sels oper­at­ing in the cap­i­tal of the Veneto region tra­di­tion­ally called vaporet­tos (it can be trans­lated as lit­tle steamer,’ and refers to the orig­i­nal fuel­ing sys­tem of these ships).

This expe­ri­ence will result in ben­e­fits for the city and will act as a fly­wheel for other Italian and inter­na­tional com­pa­nies as an exam­ple of cir­cu­lar econ­omy.- Simone Venturini

The water-buses of the Avm/Actv fleet, usu­ally pow­ered by con­ven­tional diesel, will then be fueled with the new Eni Diesel+ for an exper­i­men­tal period of seven months, from April through October 2018.

The 15 per­cent renew­able biodiesel will be pro­duced by the Eni’s biore­fin­ery in Porto Marghera, a dis­trict of the munic­i­pal­ity of Venice, through the con­ver­sion of veg­etable oils, includ­ing vir­gin olive oils used for cook­ing. Eni recently trans­formed this facil­ity, which now con­verts mate­ri­als of bio­log­i­cal ori­gin, includ­ing used veg­etable oils and ani­mal fats, into high-qual­ity bio­fu­els.

An agree­ment on the project was signed at the town hall, Ca’ Farsetti, between the City of Venice, the Avm pub­lic trans­port com­pany, the Veritas group and Eni, in the pres­ence of the coun­cilor for eco­nomic devel­op­ment Simone Venturini, the pres­i­dent of the coun­cil com­mit­tee on city plan­ning and envi­ron­ment, Lorenza Lavini, the gen­eral man­ager of the Avm Group, Giovanni Seno, the direc­tor of energy and sup­ply­ing divi­sion of the Veritas group, Massimo Zanutto and the chief refin­ing and mar­ket­ing offi­cer at Eni, Giuseppe Ricci.

The covenant states that Eni will pro­vide approx­i­mately 5.1 mil­lion kilo­grams of biodiesel for pow­er­ing the engines of the Avm water­buses active in the lagoon, at the same price as the fuel sup­plied so far. The com­pany Veritas, which col­lects, enhances and processes waste and waste­water in the Venetian ter­ri­tory, will deliver the oil from domes­tic sources, after purifi­ca­tion treat­ment, to the Eni biore­fin­ery.

A view of Venice from a vaporetto (Photo by Cecilia Tosi)

With the aim to val­i­date the pos­i­tive impact of the use of Eni Diesel+, tests were car­ried out in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Institute for Research on Engines of the National Research Council CNR in Naples. Laboratory tests already showed a reduc­tion in pol­lut­ing emis­sions, in par­tic­u­lar, nitro­gen oxides, as well as ultra­fine par­ti­cles, in addi­tion to lower con­sump­tion. Further tests on emis­sions and con­sump­tion of the marine engines will be car­ried out dur­ing the exper­i­men­ta­tion phase in Venice.

It is a proud moment for our city,” said Simone Venturini. Thanks to this agree­ment, we show our com­mit­ment to the envi­ron­ment, employ­ment and local econ­omy. This expe­ri­ence will result in ben­e­fits for the city and will act as a fly­wheel for other Italian and inter­na­tional com­pa­nies as an exam­ple of cir­cu­lar econ­omy,” the coun­cilor affirmed.

The refin­ery of Porto Marghera is among the first in the world to com­bine envi­ron­men­tal, social and eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity,” said Giuseppe Ricci of Eni. We added a new piece to the trans­for­ma­tion puz­zle of this dynamic pro­duc­tive site, which aims to cre­ate a cul­ture of reuse of veg­etable oils among peo­ple.”

Moreover, under a pre­vi­ous agree­ment, the national con­sor­tium for the col­lec­tion and treat­ment of waste veg­etable and ani­mal oils and fats, Conoe, is com­mit­ted to invit­ing all the regen­er­a­tion com­pa­nies belong­ing to the con­sor­tium to sup­ply Eni with the used oil col­lected, which will be processed into the biore­fin­ery. Eni shall ensure the pur­chase of the used oil pro­duced and avail­able on the national mar­ket, which amounted to about 65,000 tons in 2016.

The Conoe esti­mates that this will result in a poten­tial sav­ings of 3,130 kg of CO2 equiv­a­lent per ton of biodiesel pro­duced and con­sumed as fuel, while the water saved is equal to 1.9 per ton of biodiesel pro­duced with waste oil.

The agree­ment will also pro­vide for joint actions to encour­age the col­lec­tion of incre­men­tal vol­umes of waste oils pro­duced by domes­tic users, which is now almost entirely dis­persed, through agree­ments with local pub­lic admin­is­tra­tions and pub­lic waste col­lec­tion com­pa­nies.


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