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What are renewable fuels?

Renewable fuels are produced from renewable raw materials. In many cases, renewable fuels are made from a combination of different sources such as combining renewable and vegetable oils with waste and residues.

The main difference between renewable fuels and fossil fuels is where they come from. Fossil fuels are made from non-renewable fossil resources, and release the carbon from these fuels into the atmosphere. Renewable fuels are made from previously used materials (waste and residues) or from oil extracted from plants that can re-absorb CO2 from the air through photosynthesis.

What are Neste’s renewable fuels made of?

We use wide variety of different sustainably produced and globally sourced raw materials at our refineries in Finland, the Netherlands and Singapore. We have focused on waste and residues as raw materials for over a decade, and in the first half of 2021, their share increased to 92 per cent of our global renewable raw material inputs.

Today, we use:

  • Used cooking oil, collected for example from restaurants
  • Animal fat from food industry waste that is unsuitable for human consumption.
  • Vegetable oil processing waste and residues, such as spent bleaching earth oil, fatty acid distillates, and remaining oil derived from effluent sludge.
  • Fish fat from fish processing waste that cannot be used as food.
  • Sustainably sourced vegetable oils
  • Technical corn oil, a residue from ethanol production.

The raw material inputs in our refining may vary over time, from market to market and from product to product, based on availability, price, the market and customer-specific requirements and preferences. Our extensive raw material portfolio provides us with flexibility to meet these requirements, while enabling us to produce renewable products with consistent high quality.

Will we have enough renewable fuels to make a real difference?

We continue to work towards increasing the availability of lower-quality waste and residue raw materials, while developing technologies to diversify our portfolio with completely new types of raw materials. We plan to introduce new sustainable raw materials, such as:

  • Agricultural and forest harvesting waste and residues.
  • Suitable renewable materials from municipal solid waste streams.

By using these new raw materials, global renewable fuel production could reach over 1000 megatons of oil equivalent by 2040, which would be enough to replace all fossil fuels used in aviation and maritime transport, as well as a substantial part of road transport.

In the future, we aim to use additional types of raw materials besides waste and residues. We are looking into leveraging the energy potential of CO2-absorbing algae, developing novel vegetable oils from advanced agricultural concepts, and even using CO2 itself as a raw material.