Neste Oil and Finnish Environment Institute to begin joint algae research; focus on NExBTL renewable diesel
Neste Oil is expanding its algae research (earlier post) with the launch of a joint algae research program with the Marine Research Centre at Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE). The program is part of Neste Oil’s efforts aimed at using algae oil as a raw material for producing NExBTL renewable diesel in the future.
Research with SYKE will focus on testing the lipid production capacity of different types of algae and analyzing how the quality and quantity of these lipids can be optimized by adjusting the conditions under which algae are grown. Launched this August, the program will last two years.
At SYKE’s Marine Research Centre, the use of planktonic algae as a source of bioenergy has been studied since 2008 during several national and international projects. The main objective has been screening and optimizing the lipid production capacity of the algae strains isolated from the Baltic Sea.
Neste Oil is already working with a number of international research institutions, universities, and companies in the algae research area. The company announced in the summer that it would take part in two new international algae research projects in Australia and the Netherlands.
The suitability of algae oil for use in the NExBTL process has already been confirmed. Algae that produce and store lipids represent a valuable potential source of raw material for NExBTL renewable diesel. Algae grow rapidly and one hectare of cultivated algae could yield as much as 30 t/a of oil. Algae oil is also an excellent alternative in terms of sustainability, as it does not compete with food production for supplies of potable water or land.