Eni, Atlantia unit join forces to develop aviation biofuel

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Eni's logo is seen in front of its headquarters in San Donato Milanese, near Milan, Italy, April 27, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

MILAN, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Energy group Eni (ENI.MI) and Atlantia's (ATL.MI) airport unit Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) have signed an agreement to develop biofuel for aviation to fight climate change, the two Italian groups said on Tuesday.

Airports operators and airlines are under pressure to contribute to the EU's goal to cut economy-wide net carbon emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels.

In July, the European Commission proposed to force suppliers to blend a minimum of 2% of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) into their kerosene from 2025, rising to 5% in 2030 and 63% in 2050. read more

Eni and ADR said they would work together on decarbonisation and digitalisation projects for the airports managed by ADR, including Rome's Fiumicino and Ciampino.

Under the agreement, ADR plans to introduce sustainable fuels for aviation and ground handling at Rome airports in the coming months.

"We are deeply committed to ensuring carriers have access to biofuels in the coming months, ahead of expectations," ADR Chief Executive Marco Troncone said in a statement, speaking of Rome's two airports, which are both managed by the company.

Eni has been converting its refineries in Italy to produce biofuels as part of its drive to become net carbon neutral by 2050.

It produces Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil biofuel in its Venice and Gela bio-refineries using its own in-house technology and can also produce sustainable aviation fuel with the same technology from waste and plant-based raw materials.

"We are ready to make our technology and low-carbon products available to the sector," Eni Energy Evolution Chief Operating Officer Giuseppe Ricci said.

In a press release ADR said it would reach EU target of zero carbon emission in 2030, ahead of a 2050 target for European airports.

Reporting by Francesca Landini and Stephen Jewkes; editing by Jason Neely

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