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Neste Oil Launches 10%+ NExBTL Diesel Blend Commercially in Finland

NExBTL is produced by a refinery-based process that hydrogenates fatty acids from fats or oils. Click to enlarge. Source: Neste Oil

Neste Oil has commercially launched a blend of its NExBTL renewable diesel (bio-hydrocarbon fuel), branded as Neste Green diesel, in Finland. Neste Oil guarantees that Neste Green diesel contains at least 10%. Neste Green is suitable for all diesel motors, according to the company.

Using the NExBTL component improves the air quality in cities due to reduced particle emissions and reduces also greenhouse gas emissions. Neste Green diesel will first become available in the metropolitan region around Helsinki after which distribution will be extended to other parts of Finland on a phased basis.

Neste Green diesel is a mixture of traditional fossil diesel and Neste Oil’s renewable NExBTL component. Currently the EU requires a bio content of 2%. We are committed to our role as a pioneer of the renewable fuel industry, so our product has a bio content of 10% minimum. According to current plans, this will only be required in year 2020.

—Simo Honkanen, VP Renewable Fuels, Neste Oil

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area Council (YTV), Helsinki City Transport (HKL), environmental technology group Proventia and Neste Oil have already teamed up to test 100% NExBTL in the Helsinki metropolitan area public transportation. The aim of the cooperation is to promote the use of biofuels and improve the quality of city air. (Earlier post.)

Neste Oil’s refinery-based proprietary NExBTL technology is based on the high-pressure hydrogenation of fatty acids. The product is a synthetic diesel fuel, free of oxygen and aromatic compounds. Side products include propane and gasoline.

Neste Oil’s NExBTL technology is flexible in terms of possible feedstocks. NExBTL’s raw materials currently include palm oil, rapeseed oil, and animal fats. Neste Oil’s aim is to move on to using only inedible feedstocks. The medium-term goal is to increase the proportion of inedible feedstocks to 60% in 10 years.

The bulk of Neste Oil’s current R&D effort is focused on developing new biofuel raw materials and making use of these non-food sources as soon as possible. Research is being carried out with more than 20 universities and research institutions around the world, looking into a range of potential raw materials. Neste Oil has already tested jatropha oil, for example, and is developing ways of making use of forestry harvesting waste and algae.

NExBTL renewable diesel has about 37-66% lower greenhouse gas emissions over its entire lifecycle compared to fossil diesel, according to the company: 1.3-2.4 t CO2 per tonne of NExBTL (depending upon vegetable oil production, processing and transportation) compared to 3.8 t (CO2 per tonne of fossil diesel. NExBTL can be blended with conventional diesel fuel or used neat and is suitable for all diesel engines.

Neste and Stora Enso have a joint venture to develop BtL technology for the production of synthetic diesel from wood-based materials. Click to enlarge.

Neste Oil currently operates its first NExBTL renewable diesel unit at the Porvoo oil refinery in Finland. A second NExBTL plant is under construction at Porvoo and a third unit in Singapore (earlier post). Neste Oil intends to become the global leader in renewable diesel.

Neste is also working with Stora Enso, an integrated paper, packaging, and forest products company, to develop Biomass-to-Liquids technology for the production of synthetic diesel from wood residues. (Earlier post.)



Harvey D

Transforming waste, biomass and other non-food feed stocks into steam and cleaner biofuel is more sustainable than corn ethanol. It should have less effect on food price.

However, it is but a partial short term solution. It should not preclude the need to greatly reduce the use of (all) liquid fuels. Ground transport vehicles electrification and efficiency will have to be accellerated.

Rafael Seidl

Neste Oil's process has the advantage of producing regular paraffins (alkanes) rather than fatty acid methyl esters, so blending it in does not negatively affect lubricity, wear and tear on the injectors or cold weather performance - a key consideration in Nordic climates.

The new venture with Stora Enso expands feedstock options from oils & fats to forestry waste. For large-scale operations in Finland, he former have to be imported from tropical nations that may clear-cut virgin rain forest for the purpose. The latter is a domestic source, the country accounts for roughly 1/3 of all forestry products in the EU (similar to Sweden).

@ Harvey D -

if you truly want efficient electric transportation, I hope you support public investment in high speed intercity and regional rail plus (electric) bicycle infrastructure in the US. Sustainable biofuels such as BTL will never achieve a high market share until total demand for liquid hydrocarbons comes down and, reducing miles traveled by car and truck is the best way to do that.

Mr.Antonio Mendez V.

More than a comment, I would highly appreciate if you could gently supply me additional and relevant technical information about the Neste Oil's NExBTL Technology, i.e., simplified flow diagram, mass balance, operational conditions (Pressure, Temperature,etc.), utilities and hydrogen consumption, operating costs (labour, catalysts,etc.), capital expenditures and any other information you consider pertinent.
I am a retired Chemical Enginner presently acting as a project evaluation analyst and consultant in Caracas, Venezuela.
Best regards,
A. Méndez

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