Versalis, Elevance partner to scale a new metathesis technology

By Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc. | February 07, 2014

Versalis, the chemical subsidiary of Eni, and Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc., a producer of specialty chemicals from natural oils, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to establish a strategic partnership to jointly develop and scale a new metathesis technology to produce bio-chemicals from vegetable oils.

Versalis and Elevance intend to focus on jointly developing and scaling new catalysts, leveraging the significant progress of this technology that has been already accomplished by Elevance. In addition, the partners will assess the design and construction of the first world-scale ethylene metathesis-based production that will utilize renewable oils at the Versalis Porto Marghera site. This will also take advantage of existing infrastructures and production streams.

The market applications of the future bio-chemicals production will be personal care, detergents and cleaners, bio-lubricants and oilfield chemicals.

“The bio-based chemicals business is central to Versalis’ new industrial and business approach. The agreement with Elevance will further enhance our capability to progress in green innovation while boosting the transformation of one of our petrochemical sites into a more competitive and long-term sustainable complex, thus creating synergies between the renewable with the petrochemical industries,” said Daniele Ferrari, Versalis CEO.

“This partnership with Versalis is a natural next step building on the commercially competitive demonstrations of molybdenum-catalyzed metathesis of natural oils that we have achieved in our partnership with XIMO,” said K’Lynne Johnson, Elevance CEO. “Versalis is an excellent partner for this next step due to its focus on developing innovative bio-based chemicals and potential to derive future synergies from integration at its Porto Marghera site.”

Versalis will contribute its extensive skills in catalysis process development and engineering design scale-up and Elevance will bring proprietary know-how regarding metathesis and associated engineering with the use of vegetable oils in producing specialty chemicals for premium applications, leveraging similar projects in the U.S. and Asia.