South Korea-based chemicals producer LG Chem and Italian energy company Eni Sustainable Mobility have joined forces to explore the development and operation of a new biorefinery in South Korea.

The new plant is expected to be constructed at LG Chem’s existing integrated petrochemical complex in Daesan, 80km southwest of Seoul, South Korea.

The two companies are jointly assessing the technical and economic feasibilities of the proposed biorefinery project.

A final investment decision is planned for 2024, and the construction is expected to be completed by 2026.

The proposed new biorefinery will leverage LG Chem’s integrated value chain, along with the existing utilities and facilities of the industrial site.

It will be designed to process around 400,000 tons of bio-feedstocks each year, leveraging Eni’s Ecofining process, developed in collaboration with Honeywell UOP.

The plant will also have the flexibility to process renewable bio-feedstocks and produce multiple products, such as Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), and bio-naphtha.

Eni Sustainable Mobility, in its statement, said: “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.”

LG Chem has been manufacturing eco-friendly plastic products using bio-naphtha since 2020 and has received ISCC Plus certification for nine Bio-Circular Balanced products in 2021.

The South Korean company will leverage its knowledge and resources for the proposed project and will work together with Eni to enhance the reach of the integrated brand LETZero.

In 2014, Eni achieved the world’s first refinery-to-biorefinery conversion at Porto Marghera, Venice, followed by a second converted biorefinery operating in Gela, Sicily, since 2019.

Earlier this year, the Italian company formed a joint venture with PBF Energy to obtain a 50% stake in St. Bernard Renewables bio-refinery in Louisiana, US.

Eni will leverage its global footprint and knowledge to provide the proposed biorefinery with sustainable feedstock, along with its experience in biorefining and Ecofining technology.

The feedstock will be primarily based on waste and residues from the processing of vegetable oils, used cooking oil, and oils from drought-resistant crops in semi-arid soils.