23 April 2014

Certifying new feedstocks will now be faster

Neste Oil's new voluntary scheme suits well especially for waste and residues.


Neste Oil’s new sustainability verification scheme will help accelerate the company’s efforts aimed at expanding the range of feedstocks used to produce NEXBTL renewable diesel. Waste and residues can now be certified and added to the refining chain faster thanks to the new system.

Technically speaking, NEXBTL diesel can be produced from a very wide range of vegetable oils, waste, and residues. Before a new feedstock can be used, however, the sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions of the entire production chain behind it need to be thoroughly verified.

Up until now, Neste Oil has used existing systems, such as the German International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) scheme.

While systems like these work well, they are slow when used with waste- and residue-type materials. This was one of the reasons why Neste Oil decided to develop its own sustainability verification scheme covering diesel refined from all types of renewable inputs, including waste and residues.

The European Commission approved Neste Oil’s voluntary scheme in January this year, confirming that it meets the standards set for reliability, transparency, and impartial third-party auditing. External third-party bodies are responsible for carrying out the audits required under Neste Oil’s scheme.

What will be the main benefits of the new system, Pekka Tuovinen?

“We’re constantly on the look-out for new renewable inputs and our new scheme will enable us to certify materials faster than we could before,” says Pekka, who is Neste Oil’s Director responsible for Sustainability and Supplier compliance. “We will now be able to add new types of waste and residues to our portfolio of feedstocks and get them approved rapidly.”

Although the scheme has been developed for Neste Oil’s needs, it is freely available for use by other producers of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and can be found in its entirety on the European Commission’s official Web site.

“The scheme is exceptionally transparent, as all the formulae used for calculating emissions are shown and the documentation details how audits should be carried out,” continues Pekka.

As with other certification processes, an impartial external expert is responsible for officially verifying materials. Verification can make use of existing certificates approved by the Commission covering these materials if they exist.

The verification procedure covering biofuels is extremely strict, and is based on EU legislation defining the criteria that biofuels must comply with before they can be approved for use within the Community.

“Our new scheme follows the requirements set out in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive very closely,” stresses Pekka.

Strict EU limits on biofuels

“We need to be able to show where our renewable raw materials come from, how they are produced, and how they are transported. We can’t buy palm oil that’s been produced on plantations cleared from rainforest, for example. Nor can we buy palm oil that can’t be traced back along every stage of the production chain.”

Neste Oil has been actively developing the sustainability of its palm oil procurement process for many years, and was a pioneer in demanding certification and traceability from its suppliers back in the early years of the new millennium.

“Our greatest achievement has been to bring a completely new way of doing business to the palm oil trade,” says Pekka.

Neste Oil knows the origin of all the renewable raw materials it uses and the greenhouse gas emissions associated with them throughout their life cycle. All the crude palm oil used by the company to produce renewable diesel today is 100% certified and traced back to the plantation where it originally comes from.