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Nextchem and Saola Energy partner to deliver renewable diesel technology

NextChem, an Italian renewable energy technology company, is partnering with Kansas-based Saola Energy to support the production of renewable diesel from vegetable oils and residual fats.

NextChem and Saola Energy will combine their relative knowhow and expertise to deliver a comprehensive solution to the marketplace. NextChem will be the licensor of the combined technology and will provide clients with Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) services and training to ensure successful deployment of the technology.

Saola Energy’s patented technology consists of a hydrotreatment step followed by isomerization to produce high-quality Renewable Diesel fuel from oils and residual fats. The technology can process at an industrial scale, a wide range of feed stocks and is suited to capture the increased value in low-carbon fuels across multiple jurisdictions.

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The process has a modularized approach and is conceived for capacities as low as 10 million gallons per year (approximately 30,000 ton/year), making it suited for both smaller bolt-on facilities with access to a limited supply of captive feedstock and larger standalone plants that can aggregate larger amounts of raw materials.

The integration of this technology with existing plants (or bio-refineries) will allow the optimization of their economics via the valorization of by-products. Companies handling waste oils and residual fats will have access to new opportunities in the market for second-generation renewable fuels.

Traditional biodiesel and renewable diesel can both be made from residual fats and vegetable oils but are developed differently, with biodiesel produced by transesterification and renewable diesel by hydrotreating and isomerization.

While biodiesel presents limits of blending with fossil diesel, renewable diesel is a drop-in fuel that meets the petroleum fuel EN 590 and ASTM D975 standards. It overcomes blend limits and is currently used in existing diesel engines without any constraint and with superior properties compared to fossil and biodiesel. Renewable diesel commands a substantial premium over biodiesel.

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