Making it easier for California to fight climate change

What you will learn

  • How Neste and the City of Oakland created a pioneering circular economy
  • How Neste is helping sustainabale aviation fuel take off in California
  • How renewable diesel is helping keep California's medium and heavy duty road vehicles moving with less emissions. 

Neste, the world's leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel made from waste and residue materials, is investing to help businesses and cities in California achieve their climate goals.

In response to the growing calls for climate action, governments, businesses, and cities are making bold promises to create a healthier and more sustainable future. California, for example, is taking action with legislation to encourage the use of electric trucks. This is good news. Any action to reduce society’s reliance on fossil fuels is a step in the right direction. 

However, reducing carbon emissions from some segments of the transportation sector will be challenging. Medium and heavy road transportation, which includes big rigs, cement mixers, emergency response vehicles, tractors, and many other large vehicles, is recognized as hard to electrify. Similarly, the aviation industry will continue to rely on liquid fuels in the decades ahead. 

“This is where advanced biofuels come in,” said Jeremy Baines, President of Neste US. “For the past decade, Neste’s renewable diesel has enabled California businesses and cities to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Our fuel has played a major role in the success of the state’s low carbon fuel standard, replacing more than 1.6 billion gallons of fossil diesel.”

Media Folder:

Neste’s renewable, low carbon fuels will continue to play a big role in the Golden State, enabling California’s forward-thinking businesses and cities to achieve a carbon neutral future.

From Trash to Treasure: Fueling a City’s Fleet Through a Circular Economy

Neste’s entire renewables business model is centered around the idea of a circular economy.

“All of our renewable products are made by recycling -- or rather upcycling -- one industry’s waste into another industry’s treasure,” said Baines. “Our advanced biofuels are the perfect example of this: using waste and residue materials from our food system to power our transportation system.”

Neste's circular economy

Now, Neste is bringing this circular economy model to customers in California and beyond. 

In 2019, Neste, in collaboration with Western States Oil, began working with the City of Oakland, California, to collect used cooking oil from 110 restaurants within the city limits. In turn, Neste converts this locally sourced waste into renewable diesel to power the City’s municipal fleets, ranging from garbage and recycling trucks to emergency response vehicles and to street cleaners.

Read more about our pioneering circular economy.

Neste's acquisition of Mahoney Environmental and recent entry into the used cooking oil collection market in Washington state means we are even better positioned to help customers create a circular economy. For example, the amount of used cooking oil generated from Oregon, California and Washington combined is around 377 million pounds per year - enough to make more than 38 million gallons of renewbale diesel and SAF. The renewable fuel can then be brought back into the U.S. West Coast to power vehicles. The end result - a virtuous, circular cycle. 

There are so many possibilities. Imagine, for example, a world where the flights out of San Francisco, California, to Chicago, Illinois, or Dallas, Texas, are powered by the used cooking oil collected from Chicago’s O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth airports. Or, a world where sports fans could come and go from Climate Pledge Arena on buses that run on renewable diesel made fromt he stadiums own waste. 

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is Taking Off at SFO

Neste is delivering a continuous supply of sustainable aviation fuel to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) via existing pipeline infrastructure, a major milestone for the company. The SAF is blended into the jet fuel pool, and will be used by major airlines including American Airlines, JetBlue and Alaska Air.  

This achievement has been called a “climate quantum leap” by SFO. It is a major step forward since the airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Neste and a group of eight airlines and fuel producers to expand the use of SAF in 2018. 

“Air travel allows us to connect with each other, appreciate the natural wonders of the world, and experience the richness of diverse cultures. These are the things we want to preserve by fighting climate change,” said Chris Cooper, Vice President, North America, Renewable Aviation. “That’s why we are committed to growing the market for sustainable aviation fuel in North America, so future generations can enjoy the many benefits of air travel.”

Neste has also entered into a strategic partnership with Signature Flight Services and NetJets to accelerate the use of sustainable aviation fuel in the business and private aviation sector. Now, passengers will be able to board a NetJet's aircraft at SFO running on sustainable aviation fuel. This is an important achievement, as the U.S. private aviation sector is the largest in the world and the number of private or chartered flights is expected to keep growing. In fact, the industry currently consumes more than 1.8 billion gallons of fossil jet fuel each year. 

More Renewable Diesel to Move California Toward a Cleaner Future

More than 4 billion gallons of fossil diesel are still burned in California each year - primarly in vehicles that are hard to electrify like big rigs, farm equipment, emergency response vehicles, and construction vehicles. Regrettably, our planet and communities exposed to emissions from burning fossil diesel can't wait ten or twenty years for zero emission solutions for these vehicles. This is where renewable diesel fuel comes in. It is a “today solution” that is already keeping thousands of medium and heavy duty vehicles running with significantly less emissions.  

Neste is making it easier for California businesses and cities to kick the oil habit and switch to Neste MY Renewable Diesel™. We are continuing to work with our trusted, local distributors to boost availability, and we have more than doubled the size of our renewable diesel fueling network. In many cases, Neste refurbished and upgraded existing fueling stations to offer renewable diesel--something that could be done because renewable diesel is compatible with existing fueling infrastructure.  Our ambition is to create a “green fueling network” across the U.S. West Coast, making it even easier for fleet managers to make the switch to renewable diesel. 

Building a green fueling network across North America

“COVID-19 has shone a light on the important role trucking plays in preserving our quality of life. Trucks deliver packages to our doors, supply hospitals, and restock grocery stores,” said Carrie Song, Vice President, North America, Renewable Road Transport. “It is essential that we keep these vehicles moving with much less greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Renewable diesel can do just that, powering the state’s economic recovery while also helping fleet operators to quickly and affordably achieve their climate change targets.”

Recently, we also helped the Twin Rivers Unified School District transform 75 diesel-powered school buses from fossil fuel to fossil free overnight. In California, more than 25,000 school buses bring millions of students to school each day. About 65% of these vehicles run on fossil diesel – contributing to climate change and potentially exposing children to toxic emissions.  Simply switching the state’s entire fleet of diesel-powered school buses to run on renewable diesel fuel could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 600 million pounds per year - the same climate benefits as building nearly 60 wind farms, planting 4.5 million trees, or keeping more than 26.5 million gallons of oil in the ground per year. 

A bright future ahead for California, powered by renewable fuels. 

Fifteen years ago, Neste was an oil company faced with the hatching “Black Swan” of climate change. Taking small steps at first, Neste has turned into a “Green Swan,” becoming a global leader in renewable products and the third most sustainable company in the world. 

Today, Neste's renewable products are making a real, lasting impact. Last year, the company's renewable products prevented more than 9.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent from entering the atmosphere. Approximately one-third of those greenhouse gas reduction savings came from North America, primarily because many businesses and cities in California chose to kick the oil habit and make the switch to advanced biofuels.  

Neste's goal is to get that number up to 20 million tons by 2030. California will play a critical role in achieving this. The state is full of forward-thinking cities and businesses that have chosen to make fighting climate change and air pollution a priority. 

Whether it’s related to sustainability or simply supporting California communities, Neste’s commitment to help the state continues even through the pandemic. Neste’s hope is that post COVID-19, businesses, cities and residents in California will choose to keep working with us and our many partners to create a green recovery and build back better.  

Roadmap for a sustainable future