Neste Oil has decided to build a second plant to produce premium-quality synthetic NExBTL diesel at its Porvoo refinery in Finland.
The capital costs of the plant, scheduled to begin production towards the end of 2008, are estimated to be around €100 million (US$133 million). The plant will have the same capacity, 170,000 tonnes per year, as the first one at Porvoo due to start up in summer 2007.
Biodiesel is a major growth area for us, alongside oil refining, and we are aiming to become the world’s leading biodiesel producer. Building a second plant at Porvoo will bring us one step further towards reaching our goal, but it will not be the only move that we’ll be making.
We intend building a number of such plants in various markets, both alone and together with partners. When we talk about aiming to be the leader in the field, we’re not just talking about production volumes, but also about being the technology leader as well. We aim to secure this position by investing heavily in R&D on biofuels to develop technologies that will enable us to further extend the range of raw materials that we can use. Ensuring the sustainability of the raw materials is also a top priority for us.—President and CEO Risto Rinne
Neste Oil currently has two other projects under way related to starting biodiesel production elsewhere in cooperation with Total in France and OMV in Austria (earlier post), and these are progressing as planned.
The proprietary NExBTL process is a second-generation biofuel technology. The Neste NExBTL process and resulting product differ from both the transesterification process used to produced fatty acid methyl ester (biodiesel) and the gasification and Fischer-Tropsch conversion used in Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) projects.
The NExBTL process hydrogenates vegetable oil or animal fat feedstock (using hydrogen from the refinery) to produce a hydrotreated “biodiesel” that has similar fuel qualities to BTL or GTL. NExBTL in testing reduced PM and NOx emissions even further than GTL.
The process, as scaled for the Porvoo implementation, requires 0.9 to 1.0 tonnes of hydrogen gas per hour for a NExBTL output of about 20 tonnes per hour.
The market for premium-quality biodiesel looks very promising. We decided to invest in our first NExBTL plant purely with the export market in mind, but now it appears that legislation requiring the use of biofuels on the road will also be introduced in Finland, and we need a second plant to meet domestic demand as well as growing demand elsewhere. We will benefit significantly from being able to build the second plant alongside the first one soon entering the final phases of the construction.—Kimmo Rahkamo, Executive Vice President, Components Division