Porto Torres, 16 June 2014 – The ribbon was cut today at the first of the Matrìca green chemistry plants, the 50/50 joint venture between Versalis (Eni) and Novamont. First conceived back in 2011 with the objective of converting the petrochemical plant at Porto Torres into one of the most innovative, integrated green chemistry complexes in the world, the project today celebrates the start-up of production with high added value using raw materials from vegetable renewable sources.
Daniele Ferrari, Chairman, and Catia Bastioli, Managing Director of Matrìca, today inaugurated the plant converting vegetable oils into monomers and intermediates, the base products for downstream production of more complex bio-products. In the coming months another two plants being built at the new Matrìca complex will come on-stream; at these two plants, monomers and intermediates will be transformed into extensor oils for the tyre industry and into a raft of innovative products with high added value, such as bases for bio-lubricants, plasticizers for polymers and products for cosmetic formulations.
Representing a global investment of about 180 million Euro, the three plants will produce a total capacity of bio-products of approximately 70 thousand tons per year.
The Matrìca products are the fruit of an innovative integration between agriculture and industry, combining renewability, sustainability and biodegradability. They provide the highest performance levels required for formulation and production of bio-plastics, bio-lubricants, products for household care and personal and health care, plant protection, additives for the rubber and plastics industry, food fragrances.
´We have completed a cutting-edge project in record time, driven forward by a strong commitment to research and design of industrial facilities representing excellence in the global chemical industry. The perfect synthesis of the values that its two partners bring, Matrìca will make an important contribution to innovation, thereby enhancing competitiveness of the Italian chemical industry, creating a solid technological platform capable of catalyzing new projects in a context of long-term sustainability and integration with the local community´, said Daniele Ferrari, CEO Versalis (Eni) and Matrìca Chairman.
´Versalis has been following a route for some years now that today sees it in the forefront of chemistry based on renewable sources. Our business model – added Daniele Ferrari – is all about enhancing our internal technological and engineering capabilities and product synergies with traditional chemistry, networking with international partners of excellence, so that chemistry based on renewable sources can fully develop its potential for innovation, helping to renew and grow an industry that is strategic for our country.´
´The first Matrìca plant that we are inaugurating today, brought about by the strategic partnership between Novamont and Versalis, uses a proprietary technology radically different from all other existing technologies: it does not use ozone in the vegetable oil oxidative scission reaction and allows us to produce intermediates known as azelaic acid and pelargonic acid, as well as new proprietary products, through a safe process with low environmental impact. This result represents a key step in a process that began more than 20 years ago with a stubborn group of researchers working in the bioplastics sector and which is leading to the creation here in Sardinia of the first third-generation integrated biorefinery and the conversion of other sites in Italy”, said Catia Bastioli, Managing Director of Novamont and Matrìca.
´This moment is the starting point of a challenge that I hope will see the local area as an experimental laboratory for a new development model that will harmoniously combine industry, agriculture, environment, technological innovation, culture, enhancing the immense wealth of human resources, beauty, technical qualities and biodiversity that this island and the whole Italy represent´.