Biofuels can help us move with a smaller environmental footprint
The amount of energy required by traffic and transport is steadily increasing as a result of the world’s growing population and increasing urbanization. At the same time, we need to reduce emissions and our dependence on crude oil.
Biofuels represent a key tool for increasing the proportion of renewable energy used in traffic and transport. A number of biofuels – produced using different technologies and offering different product properties – are available today, including biodiesel, ethanol-based gasoline, and biogas. A lot of attention is also being given to electric cars as one way of eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels.
Neste Oil decided at the beginning of the new millennium to focus its R&D on diesel fuel produced from renewable raw materials. Unlike many of the European biofuel producers, Neste Oil rejected the idea of developing conventional FAME-type biodiesel, as its studies showed that the quality of this type of fuel was unlikely to meet the demands of automotive manufacturers, for example. The outcome of Neste Oil’s approach was NExBTL technology, capable of producing truly premium-quality renewable diesel. Today, Neste Oil is the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, and its NExBTL diesel is used to power nearly half a million vehicles.
The extensive field and laboratory trials that have been carried out on NExBTL renewable diesel in Finland, Germany, and Canada have shown that it performs excellently in a variety of blends and at 100% content. It has also proved a good solution for reducing traffic-related CO2 emissions and the tailpipe pollutants that impact urban air quality without the need to replace existing vehicles. From the driver’s perspective, using NExBTL renewable diesel is no different from using conventional fossil diesel.
While many other cleaner traffic solutions, such as electric cars, will only be available on a large scale many years from now, Neste Oil’s NExBTL renewable diesel can be used to reduce emissions today. Going forward, Neste Oil believes that a number of alternatives will be needed to meet the growing need for energy in the traffic and transport sector as sustainably as possible. To be maximally effective, the tax incentives and other initiatives offered by society to encourage people to switch to more energy-efficient, cleaner vehicles should be technology-neutral and designed to enable the marketplace to decide which are the most effective alternatives.
Heli Salmenpohja, Neste Oil's Manager, Market Development