Neste Oil Corporation
22 June 2011 at 3 p.m (EET)
Neste Oil to take part in international algae research projects in Australia and the Netherlands
Neste Oil's research into the potential for using algae oil as a feedstock for producing renewable diesel is continuing to progress. The company will be taking part in two research projects starting this summer to test various methods for growing algae in outdoor conditions. The goal of the projects in the Netherlands and Australia will be to build up experience on the suitability of different types of algae for use in industrial-scale production under a variety of conditions.
The five-year AlgaePARC project, which was launched on 17 June in the Netherlands, is being coordinated by Wageningen University and Research Centre and will involve 18 corporate partners. The focus will be on developing technologies and processes for growing microalgae on an industrial scale as a raw material for use in fuel, food, and chemical production. Neste Oil will be taking part in the project along with companies from these sectors.
A similar project, Solar Bio-Fuels Consortium, will be launched this summer in Australia. Coordinated by the University of Queensland, this will bring together seven companies and research institutions working in the field of algae-related research. The three-year project will study various techniques for growing algae and optimizing conditions to achieve high oil yields.
"Our goal is to expand the range of raw materials we use for producing NExBTL renewable diesel, and algae represent one of the most promising materials here because of their excellent potential oil yields," says Markku Patajoki, the Head of Neste Oil's Biotechnology Group. "The key practical challenge lies in scaling up output to industrial volumes, and we hope that these two new projects will result in new ways of overcoming this challenge."
Studies have shown that algae species that produce and store lipids represent a potential source of raw material for NExBTL renewable diesel. Algae grow rapidly and one hectare of cultivated algae could yield as much as 30 t/a of oil. Algae oil is also an excellent alternative in terms of sustainability, as it does not compete with food production for supplies of potable water or land. The suitability of algae oil for use in the NExBTL process has already been confirmed.
"The straightforward nature and flexibility of the NExBTL process gives us a definite advantage in terms of algae research, as we know precisely the type of properties that we need," says Pauliina Uronen, Algae Research Project Manager at Neste Oil. "Research on new raw materials such as algae is a long-term effort, however, and you cannot expect to get results overnight."
Neste Oil Corporation
Director, Corporate Communications
Juha Lehtonen, Vice President (acting), R&D, tel. +358 (0) 50 458 3703
Neste Oil in brief
Neste Oil Corporation is a refining and marketing company concentrating on low-emission, high-quality traffic fuels. The company produces a comprehensive range of major petroleum products and is the world's leading supplier of renewable diesel. The company had net sales of EUR 11.9 billion in 2010 and employs around 5,000 people. Neste Oil's share is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.
Neste Oil has been selected into the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and is also featured in the Ethibel Excellence investment register. The company is included in The Global 100 list of the world's most sustainable corporations. Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) has ranked Neste Oil as the best performer in the oil & gas sector. Further information: www.nesteoil.com