We continue to work towards increasing the availability of renewable and recycled raw materials while also developing technologies to diversify our current raw material portfolio even further from what it is today. This will help us ensure access to sufficient volumes of raw materials to support our growing production capacity, which will enable us to maximize our positive climate handprint.
Short to mid term: Increasing the availability of waste and residues
We are exploring ways to increase the availability of emerging, even lower-quality waste and residue raw materials, such as:
- Free fatty acids derived from refining processes of a variety of vegetable oils, for example.
Palm effluent sludge (PES)
- The remaining oily waste skimmed from the palm oil mill’s wastewater (POME).
- POME is wastewater with a high organic load; therefore it needs to be treated before discharge. POME consists of water soluble components of palm fruits as well as some palm fibre and oil.
- Wastewater-derived grease e.g. from restaurant kitchens.
- Waste fat of animal or plant origin collected from a grease trap before wastewater enters the waste water disposal system.
Mid- to long-term: exploring technologies to introduce new raw materials into portfolio
Our mid- to long-term raw material development focuses on, for example, the following scalable, sustainable raw materials and technologies enabling their use:
- Post-consumer and post-industrial plastic waste, e.g. colored, multimaterial, multilayer packaging waste that currently cannot be recycled mechanically.
- We are aiming to introduce liquefied plastic waste as a new raw material to our fossil oil refineries to process it into high-quality raw material for the production of new plastics.
- We successfully completed our first industrial-scale processing run with liquefied waste plastic at our refinery in Finland during fall 2020.
- We have established several partnerships to develop recycling of plastic waste, particularly chemical recycling technologies and capacity.
Read more about waste plastics
- Plant-based biomass that is not being consumed or has only low-value uses.
- E.g. forest and agricultural residues for which the availability is in the scale of billions of tons each year globally.
- Neste cooperates with Bioenergy La Tuque with the objective of unleashing the potential of unused forest residues in La Tuque, Canada.
- Neste is one of the parties financing a long-term Treesearch research platform focusing on forest-based materials.
- Neste and Stora Enso carried out trials at a pilot plant in Varkaus between 2009 and 2011 on the entire chain needed for the planned plant - from wood biomass to biowax suitable for use as a raw material for producing renewables.
- For several years, Neste operated a microbial oil pilot plant at its Technology Center at Porvoo to test how various agricultural residues can be converted into oil with the help of microbes.
Read more about lignocellulose
Novel vegetable oils from advanced agricultural concepts
- Such novel, more sustainable cultivation methods could be applied to derive additional, new volumes of vegetable oils from a variety of plants, such as rapeseed.
- These advanced agricultural concepts include,e.g. “winter cropping” (i.e. using the full potential of agricultural land to cultivate additional crops without replacing the main crop cultivated on the same land during other seasons), “silvopasture” (e.g. cultivating crops on pasture land alongside cattle), or cultivating crops on severely degraded or abandoned land.
- Advanced agricultural concepts are not yet widely practiced but expected to provide additional yields e.g. from degraded or pre-existing agricultural land.
Municipal solid waste
- Neste explores various fractions of municipal solid waste that currently cannot or are not recycled. These vary from market to market.
- Neste is evaluating several technologies and potential partners, targeting to valorise municipal solid waste and produce sustainable fuels and chemicals.
Read more about municipal solid waste
- Photosynthetic microalgae may be cultivated wherever there is water and sunlight, also in sea water and land areas unsuitable for other types of cultivation.
- Microalgae may have a high oil yield, and they are usually rich in proteins and other valuable compounds.
- Neste has been involved in several international algae research projects, for example in the Netherlands, and Australia
Read more about microalgae
CO2 - Power-to-X
- Neste is exploring electrolysis and power-to-X solutions as well as carbon capture and storage (CCS) or utilisation (CCU) technologies.
- The key technology in power-to-x is electrolysis, where hydrogen is produced from water using electricity.
- Power-to-X technologies are expected to enable the production of emission-free renewable hydrogen and conversion of CO2 into fuels, chemicals and materials
- The “feedstocks” in Power-to-X are renewable electricity and CO2. Production of hydrogen as well as fuels and chemicals using Power-to-X technologies is detached from biomass.
- In March 2020, Neste invested in a minority stake of Sunfire, leading technology developer of high-temperature electrolysis and Power-to-X solutions.
- We will demonstrate green hydrogen production at our Rotterdam refinery with CEA, Sunfire, Paul Wurth and Engie in an EU project MULTIPLHY. The project aims at the installation and integration of the world’s first multi-MW scale high-temperature electrolyser system into a refinery.
Read more about Power-to-X