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Neste Oil to Build 245M Gallon/Year NExBTL Renewable Diesel Plant in Singapore

30 November 2007

Neste Oil plans to invest approximately €550 million (US$812 million) to build a plant in Singapore to produce NExBTL Renewable Diesel. The plant will have a design capacity of 800,000 t/a—about 245 million gallons US annually—making it the world’s largest facility producing diesel fuel from renewable feedstocks to date.

The plant will be based on Neste Oil’s proprietary NExBTL technology for the high-pressure hydrotreatment of fatty acids—a second-generation biofuel process that produces a pure hydrocarbon fuel (bio-hydrocarbon). The process can use a flexible input of any vegetable oil or animal fat and produce a product with characteristics similar to Fischer-Tropsch output. (Earlier post.) The first NExBTL facility was commissioned in Finland at Neste Oil’s Porvoo refinery in summer 2007, and a second is due to come on stream there in 2009.

NExBTL Renewable Diesel is a premium fuel that outperforms conventional petroleum diesel fuel, and can be used in existing vehicles and distributed in existing logistics systems. When produced from sustainably sourced raw materials, its total lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are 40-60% less than those of conventional diesel fuel. In addition, NExBTL has lower tailpipe emissions, contributing to better air quality.

Based on tests performed, use of NExBTL diesel can deliver emissions reductions such as the following:

  • 10% less nitrogen oxides

  • 28% less small particle emissions

  • 50% less hydrocarbons

  • 28% less carbon monoxide

  • 40-45% less aldehydes

  • 40-45% less benzene

The main raw material planned for the Singapore plant will be palm oil. Neste Oil has committed itself to only using palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil as soon as sufficient quantities are available. Palm oil complying with the RSPO certification system, which was approved in November 2007, will probably be available from the early part of 2008 onwards.

Singapore is the world’s third-largest center of oil refining, and occupies a central location in terms of product and feedstock flows and logistics. This also gives Singapore excellent potential to develop into a center for Asian biofuel production, according to Neste. Singapore is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol and has committed itself to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The government of Singapore played an important role in promoting Neste Oil’s investment, and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) assisted Neste Oil at every stage of the preparations for the project. The EDB will also support the investment through e.g. R∓D support and assistance with recruiting and training personnel.

Construction of the Singapore plant will begin in the first half of 2008, and the facility is due to be completed by the end of 2010. The plant will be built in the Tuas industrial zone in the southwest of the island, around 30 minutes from the centre of Singapore. The plant will be integrated into the area’s existing industrial infrastructure, and will make use of local site utilities and port and storage services.

November 30, 2007 in Bio-hydrocarbons, Biomass, Diesel, Fuels | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

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I am a strong supporter of many biofuels. But not all biofuels are created equally. Bodiesel from palm oil has serious problems. The main problem is that the increased demand for palm oil is causing massive deforestation. This is leading to HUGE carbon emissions from the soil. See:
http://alt-e.blogspot.com/2007/02/seeing-red-palm-oil-biodiesel.html
Using Certified Sustainable Palm Oil is a nice idea, but whether it is grown sustainably or not does not address the original deforestation problem. There are better ways to produce biodiesel with algae. See:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/09/greenfuel-techn.html

I note the phrase 'when produced from sustainably sourced raw materials' seems unlikely if the inputs are palm oil as currently produced and hydrogen presumably from steam reforming of NG. I guess they are stretching renewable inputs with fossil inputs which could a stepping stone to true renewables. I also wonder if SE Asia will end up consuming all its own tropical plant oils with little surplus left for export to Europe.

this is NOT Biodiesel. this is 2nd generation biodiesel (synthetic oil) this news article is more orientated to the accomplishments of putting a 2nd generation biodiesel plant into construction, not about what the feedstock is, the feedstock in the long run could be any fatty acid (yes algea based).

In 2006, US produced 250 million gallons of Biodiesel. This 1 plant is going to produce 245 million gallons. Great.

If we want sustainable green fuel, probably they should start planting relevant crops in Australia which is somewhat closer. But Malaysia and Indonesia are even closer, so natural they will touch the forest.

If we are concerned about the forests, probably we should move to natgas, electricity and so on.

==There are better ways to produce biodiesel with algae. See:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2007/09/greenfuel-techn.html==

You might want to reconsider that statement after you read this.
http://greyfalcon.net/algae4

Grey Falcon,
What makes biodiesel better than "green" diesel? I have a list of things that makes biodiesel inferior to "green" diesel:
1. Need for relatively pure feedstock (triglycerides) for production.
2. Need for methanol and catalyst ($ and energy).
3. Production of glycerin of which there is a glut.
4. Cold weather properties of biodiesel is inferior to both diesel and "green" diesel.
5. Unlike "green" diesel, biodiesel is not completely miscible with existing petroleum diesel.

I think algal biomass may be a significant contributor to future biofuel projects. But pure species grown in plastic bags won't be a large part of that. You'd need too many plastic bags...

GreyFlcn,

There is sufficient demand for diesel to justify investment in both biodiesel and green diesel technologies. However, Methyl Ester does have some advantages:

i) bioesters are non-toxic to animals and easily remediated by micro-organisms relative to DME and Green Diesel in the aftermath of inevitable fuel spills;

ii) biodiesel may be ideal for small scale distributed production of biofuel adjacent to feedstock and/or consumers where it can be splash blended into tankers and local supplies, while green diesel will likely be manufactured within or in close proximity to existing refinery complexes adjacent to waterways;

iii) emissions of air toxins from combustion of biodiesel should be lower than for green diesel;

iv) biodiesel plants can be engineered to have nearly zero air and water emissions;

v) if algae based oil ever becomes economical as a byproduct of powerplants, thereby making B100 an economically viable alternative fuel, biodiesel may be a superior form factor for complete displacement of petro diesel, (i.e., no blending with ULSD)

Each will find its place assuming economical feedstock is available

Joel,
In response to your comments the following:
i) You are right. That is a significant advantage for biodiesel.
ii) So?
iii) Why? Biodiesel tends to produce a lot of NOx, which is not a problem with green diesel.
iv) Can? Will? Where is Congress' backbone when you need it?
v) Use the algae for green diesel and kiss biodiesel good bye.

Each will find its place assuming economical feedstock is available
They use the same feedstock [lipids]. It's one or the other.

NREL reports the reason why green diesel will ultimately kill biodiesel: "An analysis by B. Arena and others indicates that capital and operating costs [for Neste Oil's green diesel process] are substantially lower than those for transesterification [biodiesel]."

What is the net energy balance of green diesel?

The most thorough studies approximate that biodiesel produces around 3 units of energy output for every unit of input.

I don't know about green diesel, but the process seems like it would take alot of energy to produce.

Secondly, can a green diesel facility be built and operated by every day citizens as does a biodiesel facility. In fact, biodiesel can be made to ASTM standards in one's own home from waste vegetable oil by simply buying a few other ingredients and a biodiesel reactor that cost less than $1,000.

Greg,
Lower operating cost for green diesel implies greater efficiency, hence it would do better in terms of energy balance than biodiesel. Remember, they use the same feedstock, but the green diesel process is a lot simpler.

You probably won't be able to make green diesel in your garage - but, presumably you won't have to: green diesel (from evil Big Oil) would be cheaper than what you could do in the garage.

Im interested in green diesel as my plant design research is on green diesel production using vegetable oil.Firstly what is green diesel chemical formula?Per research green diesel production is lot simplier than biodiesel and its efficiency and properties are better than that of biodiesel i.e sulfur content, cetane number etc.Can you assists on how can I build a green diesel plant for my practical i.e. EOS(Equations of state), reaction kinetics, mass and energy balances and unit operations.

Regards
Mphonyana Modiselle

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