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Neste Oil and Total Cancel NExBTL Biofuel Project in France

Neste Oil and Total have decided to discontinue their project to build a NExBTL plant to produce diesel fuel from renewable raw materials at a Total refinery in France.

Feasibility studies on the project, which was announced in summer 2005, determined that building the plant at Dunkirk would have proved too expensive. Neste Oil’s other NExBTL projects continue as planned. In 2005, Total announced it would spend €500 million through 2010 on biofuels, synthetic fuels, greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energies and hydrogen. (Earlier post.)

Neste Oil has a similar NExBTL plant in the final stage of construction at its Porvoo refinery in Finland and due to come on stream in the first half of this year. Recently the company decided to build a second identical plant at the same site due to be commissioned towards the end of 2008. (Earlier post.)

The two plants at Porvoo will have a combined output of some 340,000 t/a and are projected to cost a total of approximately €200 million (US$259 million). In addition, Neste Oil is working on plans with OMV to build a renewable diesel fuel plant based on NExBTL technology at a site near Vienna, Austria.(Earlier post.)

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 BTL projects.

The proprietary NExBTL process hydrogenates the 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.

Rapidly growing diesel production capacity based on renewables is an important priority for us, and we have committed ourselves to investing substantially in the field. Our technology is clearly ahead of what is currently available, as it provides refiners with the widest range of possible raw material inputs and results in the highest-quality output. Given the accelerated public discussion around climate change, and the potential biofuels offer for helping here, I believe that we will move ahead on a number of NExBTL projects over the next few years.

—Risto Rinne, Neste Oil President & CEO



Dang. I wonder what the chemical composition of NExBTL could be. If it is just H, C, or/and O, then it could be made from biomass sourced Syngas. That would eliminate the vegetable/animal oil supply hurdle.


The NExBTL process can't use syngas, it specifically uses vegetable oil as a feedstock and adds hydrogen to it. Unfortunately, it is reliant on vegetable oil supplies, which at present are not sufficient to supply a significant portion of the world's transportation fuels. The NExBTL fuel does have lower NOx emissions and most of the same benefits of biodiesel excluding the increased lubricity that biodiesel has. It is quite similar to BTL or GTL, but the production process is totally different and can't use syngas.


"....have proved too expensive..."

Always sad to read that, even somehow it is understandable. If we can do something better than before, i hope we could fight through financial and economical issues. Hate to say our children: "Yes! We could have decrease greenhouse emissions, but because these euros and dollars we just kept going on like before..." Our current markets doesn't mean sh** after 100 years.

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