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Neste Oil’s Second Renewable Diesel Plant Commissioned at Porvoo

Neste Oil has increased its capacity to produce NExBTL renewable diesel following the start-up of a second dedicated NExBTL plant at the company’s main refinery at Porvoo, Finland. The new plant will be capable of producing 170,000 t/a of NExBTL renewable diesel.

The start-up of the plant in June went well, the company said, and has been producing the advanced fuel for a couple of weeks. The plant operates now on full capacity.

Neste Oil commissioned its first NExBTL plant—also at Porvoo and also with a capacity of 170,000 t/a - in summer 2007, and is building two world-scale plants, in Singapore and Rotterdam. Capable of producing 800,000 t/a each, these are due to be completed in 2010 and 2011.

Neste Oil’s refineries are located in Porvoo and Naantali and have a combined crude oil refining capacity of approximately 260,000 barrels a day (32,911 tonnes/day or 12 million t/a).

Initial results from a joint pilot test of 14 series-produced Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses running NExBTL renewable diesel (hydrotreated vegetable oil, HVO) since mid-2008 have shown a reduction in NOx emissions of up to 15%, and in CO2 emissions of more than 60% compared to fossil fuels. (Earlier post.)

Neste Oil says it is committed to only using sustainably produced inputs in its NExBTL production and will use solely RSPO-certified palm oil by the end of 2015 or earlier if it is available in sufficient quantities.



This an interesting evolution for alternative liquid fuel production.

Two countries (Malaysia and Indonesia) curently produce over 80% of the world palm oil at 50 + Millon tonnes each/year. Indonesia has overtaken Malaysia's production in the last three years.

The yield per hectare is increasing but is still rather low at about 4 tonnes (avg) per Hectare per year. New plantations yield twice as much.

Australia's engineered palms have much better yield, up to 38-tonnes/hectare from 5- year old palm trees. This could easily translate into average 18-32 tonnes/hectare in open real world plantations.

With yield approaching 40 tonnes of oil per hectare per year, palm oil could soon compete with sugar cane ethanol.

Brazil has the appropiate climate, rain fall, labour force and large land area and could become the world leader within one or two decades.

Palm tree plantations are more sustainable than grain crops to produce alternative liquid fuel. Switching existing mix forest for palm trees may not have a major effect on GHG.

Palms originate from Africa and many tropical African countries (south of the Sahara) have suitable climate and could benefit from the implementation of high oil yield palm plantations. Transportation by pipelines to sea ports is not a major challenge.

Alternative fuels from palm oil produce less pollution than fossil fuel.

Corn based ethanol could be phased out in favour of palm oil based alternative fuels. USA could trade corn (and other grains) for palm oil. It could be a win-win for both sides.

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