13 June 2008

Finland’s Neste Oil is to build an 800,000 t/a 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 projected cost of the investment is €670 million.

Neste Oil’s first NExBTL facility was commissioned in Finland at the Porvoo refinery in Summer 2007. Second facility is due to come on stream there in 2009. Each of the plants at Porvoo has a capacity of 170 000 t/a. In November 2007, Neste announced its decision to go ahead with another 800,000 t/a plant in Singapore, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

NExBTL renewable diesel is manufactured through refinery hydrogenation of vegetable oil and animal fat feedstocks. In its plant in Finland, the company currently uses a mix of palm oil, rapeseed oil, and animal fat to produce renewable diesel. The fuel is composed of paraffinic hydrocarbons, with properties resembling those of synthetic GTL diesel fuel, rather than the methyl ester based biodiesel. NExBTL diesel can be blended with conventional diesel, and is suitable for all diesel engines.

The NExBTL fuel used to be marketed as “biodiesel”, which was a potential source of confusion with ester-based biodiesels. Recently, Nested dropped the term biodiesel in favor of “renewable diesel”.

NExBTL offers 40-60% lower lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions compared to conventional fossil diesel, according to Neste.

Neste Oil has an R&D program to develop new renewable raw materials for fuel production, aiming at completely eliminating food-based materials by 2020. Future feedstocks under consideration include non-food vegetable oil, wood-based materials, and algae.

Source: Neste