Refiner Neste Oil, who is building a new plant in Singapore, launched its green diesel on Tuesday in Finland, calling it the world’s first renewable fuel suitable for all diesel engines. Neste’s European standard EN-590 diesel contains at least 10 percent of renewable fuel, the company’s own NExBTL-branded component, Neste said…
Bio diesel is made from vegetable oils and animal fats and while controversy has grown recently over using foods to replace fossil fuels as an energy source, advocates promote it as a green alternative to gasoline or diesel. Currently Neste produces renewable diesel at a 170,000 tonnes per year production unit in Porvoo, southern Finland, mainly from imported palm oil, rapeseed oil and animal fats.
Neste’s renewable fuels head Simo Honkanen said that in 10 years’ time the company aims to have 70 percent of its raw materials coming from non-food feedstocks. “In about 2020 we strive to have all the raw materials we use from outside the food chain,” Honkanen said, adding that forest biomass and algae can be used on a commercial scale.
“It is certain that in 10 years the outlook for raw materials is completely different than it is today”. Neste currently exports most of its bio diesel output saying demand outweighs its capacity. The refiner is due to start-up its second bio diesel production line in Porvoo next year.
It has also begun building a 800,000 tonnes per year renewable diesel plant in Singapore, due to be ready at the end of 2010. Bio fuels are seen by supporters as a way of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change and of boosting energy security at a time when mineral oil prices are rising to record levels.
Opponents, however, argue the growing use of land to produce them has contributed to rising global food prices and that an expansion of crops such as palm oil has led to the destruction of rainforests in southeast Asia. Neste says it is working through the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil to promote the introduction of an international palm oil certification system.