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Eni and LG Chem assessing potential for biorefinery in South Korea

South Korea’s leading chemicals producer LG Chem and Italian energy group Eni Sustainable Mobility are exploring the possibility of developing and operating a new biorefinery at LG Chem’s Daesan chemical complex, 80 kilometers southwest of Seoul, South Korea.

Together, the companies are examining the technical and economic feasibilities for the proposed project. Final decision for the investment is scheduled by 2024 and the plant will be completed by 2026 at the existing integrated petrochemical complex in Daesan, Korea. The new biorefinery will leverage LG Chem’s integrated value chain as well as the existing utilities and facilities of the industrial site.

The potential biorefinery aims to meet the growing demand for more sustainable fuels and plastics produced by low-carbon processes, as well as to help progressively decarbonize the energy and mobility sector. It is designed to process approximately 400,000 tons of bio-feedstocks annually using Eni’s Ecofining™ process, developed in collaboration with Honeywell UOP. It will also have the flexibility to process renewable bio-feedstocks and produce multiple products including Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), and bio-naphtha.

LG Chem and Eni will combine expertise in this initiative.

LG Chem has been manufacturing eco-friendly plastic products using bio-naphtha since 2020. In April 2021, it became the first South Korean chemical company to receive ISCC Plus certification for nine Bio-Circular Balanced products. Four months later, LG Chem started shipping its first bio-balanced SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) products—also certified with ISCC Plus—to overseas markets. In October 2022, LG Chem expanded its ISCC Plus certified eco-certified product portfolio to more than 50 items, reaffirming its ever-growing commitment to sustainability. LG Chem will now work closely with Eni to increase the visibility of its eco-friendly integrated brand LETZero.

Eni will bring its extensive experience in biorefining, along with its Ecofining™technology. In 2014, Eni accomplished the world’s first refinery-to-biorefinery conversion at Porto Marghera, Venice, followed by a second converted biorefinery that has been working in Gela (Sicily) since 2019.

In June 2023, Eni entered in a joint venture with PBF Energy acquiring 50% interest of St. Bernard Renewables LLC bio-refinery in Louisiana (USA) also based on the use of the Ecofining technology. Leveraging its worldwide footprint and knowledge in supplying, Eni will provide the South Korean biorefinery with sustainable feedstock mainly based on waste and residues from the processing of vegetable oils, used cooking oil, and also vegetable oils from drought-resistant crops in degraded, semi-arid, or abandoned soils not in competition with the food chain.


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