Base oils
2.09.2020

Guest blog: How do we combine performance with sustainability to move a whole industry forward?

Alejandra Norén
Head of Partners Management, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals

 

Improvement is a continuous process. We demonstrate it through our persistent work on innovative solutions that allow whole industries or even sectors to take big steps forward, especially in the area of sustainability. And exactly this approach was the starting point for the story of a completely new product. One, that can be used to reduce our reliance on fossil resources in a variety of applications – without any compromise in quality or performance of the end products.

Neste Renewable Isoalkane is a unique product that is made from 100% renewable raw materials and is readily biodegradable. It can be used in formulations without any need for changes in production processes. It covers typical hydrocarbon and isoparaffin applications in functional fluids, but also extends to the base oil industry, where the benefits can be felt in any situation in which a low viscosity combined with a high flash point and good stability are needed.

The introduction of our solution also serves a bigger purpose. It provides the chemical industry with a great opportunity to accelerate and advance its sustainability efforts. While the fuel industry had a head start in this area, the chemical industry is now following suit, benefiting from a product that ties performance, safety and environmental impacts together. And as we observe a growing need for products from renewable sources in chemical applications, we are ready to satisfy it with premium quality and guaranteed security of supply.

Close collaboration to answer market needs

Meeting customer expectations is the primary reason for our focus on the product’s characteristics and positive impact it provides in various applications. But, development of Neste Renewable Isoalkane also shows our dedication to answering market needs and moving industries forward with our solutions.

In this case, development started with agile exercises run internally on our proofs of concept. These delivered valuable data to diverse teams throughout our organization – from R&D to logistics and technical support – for collaboration in validating potential use cases and partnership concepts.

Having all of this essential information allowed us to move to the most thrilling part – dialogue with potential customers, processors and formulators. The value of such discussions lies not only in providing transparency across the whole value chain, but also in providing us an opportunity to hear the voice of the market in order to understand what our customers need to achieve business success.

A story waiting to be told

Already at this point, I can proudly say that our solution demonstrates what we were aiming for: impressive results. Finnish companies AT-Tuote and Outotec are among the first to utilize the potential provided by our product. The former has developed an industrial lubricant, in which Neste Renewable Isoalkane represents the main component, and in which altogether 95% of the content is derived from renewable sources. It has a smaller carbon footprint than fossil alternatives, and it is readily biodegradable and safe to use because of its extremely low VOC content. It is the world’s first industrial lubricant with nearly 100% bio-based content. 

The latter company developed a fully bio-based diluent with low to no VOC content and much better evaporation than currently used diluents, significantly improving the efficiency of metal extraction, while also improving safety of use. It is fully biodegradable and has a much lower carbon footprint over its life cycle when compared to fossil alternatives. Beyond these, we’re also exploring further opportunities in the area of heat transfer media (HTM), where our molecules provide excellent performance in cooling systems with high heat capacity and superior oxidation stability.

I envision many more opportunities to explore new applications for our product, especially since we are witnessing a worldwide turn towards sustainable solutions, including industries that have, until now, been slightly behind in this transformation. So far, we have seen just the very beginning of a great story that will not only bring benefits to our customers, but also highlights our purpose of creating a healthier planet for our children.

 

Read more industry news and insights as seen by our experts on our website.

 

Written by
Alejandra Norén
Head of Partners Management, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals

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