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Neste Oil to Build $1B NExBTL Renewable Diesel Plant in Rotterdam

Neste Oil will build an 800,000 tonne/year (about 240 million gallons US) plant to produce NExBTL renewable diesel in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Construction will start immediately and the facility is scheduled to be completed in 2011. Total cost of the investment is projected to be €670 million (US$1 billion).

Neste Oil announced its decision to go ahead with a similar-sized plant in Singapore in November 2007. (Earlier post.) Both plants are linked to Neste Oil’s goal of becoming the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel fuel.

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.

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. It produces a product with characteristics similar to Fischer-Tropsch output. (Earlier post.)

In its plant in Finland, the company currently uses a mix of palm oil, rapeseed oil, and animal fat to produce renewable diesel.

Neste Oil has a major R&D program under way to develop new renewable raw materials for fuel production, and is working towards a target of completely non-food raw material use by 2020. Neste Oil is cooperating with more than 20 universities and research institutions globally as part of this program, which is divided into six areas, including non-food vegetable oil, wood-based materials, and algae.

Solazyme, an algal fuels company, recently introduced SoladieselRD, an algae-derived drop-in renewable bio-hydrocarbon fuel that meets ASTM D-975 diesel specifications and that is produced in a refinery with a process that also includes the hydrotreatment step to deoxygenate the algae oil. (Earlier post.) Solazyme’s focus is on optimizing the algae for such a process.

The new plant is being built in the Maasvlakten area in the western part of the Port of Rotterdam. Its location close to other chemicals plants will offer a number of synergy opportunities with other facilities. Nearby plants will supply Neste Oil with utilities.

Neste Oil will work with the same key partners in Rotterdam that it selected for its project in Singapore. Technip Italy will act as the project’s main contractor and Air Liquide will supply the hydrogen required by the process.

Comments

J T

Big market in Europe, as most cars there are now diesel.

I wonder what the production cost is per L or gal...

anttik

Great. 0.02% of the world's daily consumption, which is growing at c. 2% annual rate.

Let's build another 100 of those and we can make a 2% dent.

Promising, but won't fix anything.

phronesis

@ anttik,

You can't get from point A to point C without going through B first.

Granted we have dug ourselves into a nice deep hole but we aren't going to get out of it with a pessimistic attitude.

Besides the future should not be built on one single solution a diverse portfolio of technologies are what we need.

ejj

Let not your heart be troubled anttik - a big, large scale renewable energy revolution is on the horizon in the US....America will lead the way soon....

lance sjogren


The comment about how little this goes toward replacing fossil fuels I think is not necessarily on the right track.

From what I have read to-date, it appears unlikely that biofuels will be able to be produced at anything near the scale needed to allow us to convert our transportation system from fossil fuels to biofuels.

So the primary energy source to supply our future transportation system will have to be something else. Most likely in my view, electricity.

As I see it, biofuels will be part of the energy future, but they will be high-priced products serving niche applications. But they will nevertheless be essential, in order to fuel those applications where nothing else will do the job.

Therefore, I think biofuel plants whose output is miniscule compared to the scale at which we currently use fossil fuels are indeed very worthwhile, even though they may not put us on a path of scale up to massive production levels that biofuel enthusiasts would hope for.

HarveyD

Lance:

Cellusic agro-fuel may start to make sense in countries with very large land areas when most ICE vehicles have been replaced with PHEV-100 Km.

thomas

And this will add to food cost not to mention air pollution from land clearing by plantation owners.

Dan A

Yea, now they can chop down more tropical rain forest for palm plantations!

Use of the inedible parts of plants to make fuels could actually reduce food prices since farmers could sell what there is no market for at the present time. They are already paying the cost of producing the stalks, leaves, cobs, shells, etc but can only sell the 10% that can be eaten.

lance


Harvey, your point is well taken, although I guess I am mentally "skipping a generation" and picturing where we will be when we have pure EV's as opposed to hybrids.

----

The comment about the inedible parts of the plants- true they have the potential to be used for energy generation but my impression is that they may be needed to replenish the soil.

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