‘Diesel made from offal reduces CO2 emissions up to 90%’
The Finnish fuel company, Neste, introduces renewable diesel to the Dutch market, which is made from offal. The fuel is cleaner than regular diesel and perfectly compatible with conventional engines. By being renewable, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 50 up to 90% and might even give diesel technology a second chance.
For cars and aircrafts
“The Dutch customer is ready for renewable diesel,” says (Belgian) CEO, Peter Vanacker, of Neste. Neste MY (blue diesel) should be available at sixty filling stations by the end of this year. The company has already launched the diesel in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, and the American state of California.
This week, Neste opened a new office near Amsterdam with a view on Schiphol Airport. From here, the company wants to conquer the aviation sector with renewable kerosene. The aircraft fuel comes from the same factory as the diesel. The Finnish have a refinery at the Rotterdam harbor.
Renewable diesel, not biodiesel
Neste states it is a renewable fuel and not a biofuel. “These are two different products,’ Vanacker says. “Biofuel is based on plant residues and must be mixed with fossil fuel for 5 to 10% (B5 of B10). We produce our diesel in a different process.
It becomes real diesel, as the chemical composition is comparable to fossil diesel. Engines run on it without any problems, and no adjustments are required. So there’s no need to mix in,” Vanacker adds.
How is it made?
The basis of the fuel is offal. That’s one of the fourteen raw materials that are being used. Other components are fish oil and used cooking oil, waste oil. Neste claims that the origin of another raw material used, palm oil, is guaranteed sustainable.
Ultimately, the result at the refinery is a liquid that resembles water because it is just as colorless but slightly thicker. There are also plans to make such fuel on a large scale from plastic waste.
This ‘blue diesel’ is purer than the diesel that comes from petroleum. It contains hardly any nitrogen, hardly any sulfur or aromatics. When burned, there is virtually no black smoke or odor because it does not contain any fossil elements.
Neste claims its blue diesel has 33% lower levels of fine particulates (and a smaller number of particulates in general, 9% less nitrogen oxides (NOx), 24% lower carbon monoxide (CO) emissions and reduced levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and 30% less hydrocarbons (HC).
The fuel is perfectly suitable for use in conventional diesel engines. “Truck companies say they have saved on maintenance while using blue diesel,” Vanacker states. That’s a windfall because, at the pump, blue diesel will be up to 20 cents per liter more expensive than regular diesel, as it is more expensive to produce.
Second chance for diesel?
This offers perspectives to give diesel engines that are currently banned due to emission problems a second chance. By using clean fuel in an old(er) diesel car, it could still be used in a densely populated environment thanks to its cleaner emissions.
This approach could significantly reduce global CO2 emissions because diesel engines, by definition, consume less fuel. At present, consumers are buying more and more petrol and plug-in hybrid engines, which in practice only increases CO2 emissions.