Green Chemistry: the hothouse for innovation

Green Chemistry: the hothouse for innovation

Porto Torres: a summary of the progress of works at the Matrýca construction site is presented to Corrado Passera, the Minister for Economic Development

Porto Torres (Sassari, Sardinia, Italy), 18 December 2012 ľ Green chemistry as the driving force behind the relaunch of the Sardinian economy and as an opportunity for the Italian chemical industry to innovate. The CEO of ENI, Paolo Scaroni, together with Daniele Ferrari and Catia Bastioli ľ Chairman and CEO, respectively, of Matrýca ľ today presented to the Minister for Economic Development, Corrado Passera, and the Undersecretary, Claudio De Vincenti, in the presence of the local and national stakeholders and institutions, the construction site commissioned by Matrýca, a joint venture between Versalis (Eni) and Novamont for the creation of one of the world┤s most innovative green chemistry hubs, as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 26 May 2011 by the Office of the President of the Council of Ministers.

The creation of a local Integrated Biorefinery, dedicated to a series of innovative products that benefit from the input of a consolidated production chain, will bring new, low-environmental-impact chemical production to the area, laying the groundwork for new industrialisation that will have positive effects not only on the chemical industry but also on all of the downstream sectors and on the agricultural industry: it all adds up to an outstanding example of an effective bioeconomics production chain that respects the local biodiversity and affords an excellent opportunity to give a much-needed boost ľ particularly for those sites that have historically been less competitive ľ to the strategically important chemical sector.

The Phase 1 construction site (for the Matrýca biolubricant and biomonomer plants) was opened on 9 July. The works are currently focusing on the foundations and embankments. The metalwork and mechanical engineering operations began with the construction of the racks (metal structures on which the pipework rests) and the first 17 tanks for the storage of raw materials and products. The next step will be the completion of the structurework and the installation of the equipment and machinery, the construction of which is already nearing completion at the workshops of third-party suppliers, many of them in Sardinia.

At present, around 200 people are employed in the upstream and downstream operations of the construction site, with the expectation that the workforce will reach around 300 by early next year, as well as an additional 100 people who will be based at the external workshops.
The completion of the works and the commissioning of the plants are envisaged for the end of 2013, fully in line with the original programme, thereby making up for the 4 months of delay accumulated during the initial phase due to the protracted nature of certain aspects of the authorisational process.

The Research Centre
The Research Centre has been operational since February; at present, 3 pilot plants are being installed, with the relevant experiments to be initiated in early 2013. The Matrýca Research Centre employs 14 people, including 4 new graduates, with another 7 researchers set to be taken on over the course of 2013. The recruitment of the researchers is conducted on the basis of the Framework Agreement signed by Sardinia Region, the Universities of Cagliari and Sassari and the Italian National Research Council (CNR) on 13 February 2012 with a view to tapping the potential synergies and to making the most of the scientific and technical skills available in order to carry out research programmes.

Employment data
Matrýca┤s direct workforce now numbers more than 50, and that figure is expected to reach around 120 by 2013.

The Project
The plan envisages the construction of seven plants by 2016 for the production of chemical intermediates such as monomers, additives for lubricants and elastomers and biodegradable polymers obtained from renewable raw materials (vegetable oil and agricultural waste).
The investment for Phase 1 of the project amounts to in excess of Ç110 million. Since the start of work, orders have been issued for around Ç65 million.

News and press releases | Tue, 18 December 2012

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