Pia Bergström, Annika Malm, Jukka Myllyoja, Jukka-Pekka Pasanen and Blanka Toukoniitty
Converting waste and residues into high-quality renewable solutions
In 2020, the global transport sector emitted approximately 7.3 billion metric tonnes of CO2, equivalent to around 20% of global CO2 emissions that year. Medium-to-heavy trucks and aviation were responsible for 22% and 8% of the total, respectively. Over the years, the Neste team has focused on finding ways to convert low-quality waste and residue raw materials into high-quality renewable solutions.
Neste sources renewable raw materials like animal fat waste, used cooking oil and processed vegetable oil residues from all over the world. Turning diverse renewable raw materials into pure hydrocarbons requires several processes. Firstly, in the pre-treatment process, impurities are removed from the raw materials before further refinement in a catalytic process, where oxygen atoms are removed with hydrogen atoms. In the next process phase, the hydrocarbons are isomerized to tune the product properties for cold conditions. NEXBTL is Neste’s proprietary technology to turn a wide variety of renewable fats and oils into premium-quality renewable products.
Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ is compatible with all diesel engines and, according to the company, reduces greenhouse gas emissions as much as 75-95% compared to fossil diesel. The Neste MY Sustainable Aviation Fuel™ produces up to 80% fewer emissions than fossil-based aviation fuel. The renewable fuels are the result of decades worth of research and learning from countless setbacks. “Everything is possible, impossible just takes more time,” says Czech chemical engineer Toukoniitty. “We really believed and worked hard. We faced many problems and sometimes people didn't believe (in our work), but we remained focused on the goal. Research is challenging and you have to have patience and just keep going.”
Global player in greener fuels
Today, Neste produces approximately 3.3 million tonnes of renewable diesel and other renewable products annually and plans to increase production capacity to 5.5 million tonnes in 2023. Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ is available in several European countries, in the United States and is used by companies including IKEA Finland and McDonald’s. Airlines such as KLM, Lufthansa, Delta and American Airlines are among the users of the company’s aviation fuel.
Patents and other intellectual property rights have been essential in helping the company grow. "Approximately 25% of our personnel work with topics related to innovation, research, product development and engineering" says Myllyoja. "We use intellectual property rights strategically to secure control of our core technology assets and protect our innovations."
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