Neste has delivered sample batches of NEXBTL renewable isoalkane to its partners during the spring. They will begin to use it in their own products before year's end.
NEXBTL renewable isoalkane is a technically superior and more environmentally-friendly alternative to existing fossil raw materials. Industrial companies generally aim to reduce their carbon footprint. NEXBTL renewable isoalkane meets this need.
Neste has selected two companies, Total Fluides in France and HCS Group in Germany, as its partners to produce raw materials for the lubricant and chemical industry using NEXBTL technology.
Deliveries to commence in late 2015
Based on the pilot batches, the partners have found NEXBTL renewable isoalkane to be extremely well compatible with their processes and equipment. Deliveries will commence towards the end of the year once the partners have had their products approved by the European Chemicals Agency.
"Both companies are innovative and agile in the market. They have a good insight of customer needs. We have found a confidential and mutually beneficial cooperation model with them," says Alejandra Noren, Director Conventional and Renewable Solvents at Neste.
Precision products through distillation
Neste's partners have existing distillation plants in which NEXBTL renewable isoalkane will be processed further into new products.
"Our partners will distill solvent fractions with a narrower boiling range than our products from NEXBTL renewable isoalkane. They can also improve the aromatics content of the product. The distilled products can be used in a wide variety of applications as well as the non-distilled product,” says Tomi Nyman, Manager, Strategy and New Ventures at Neste.
The distilled products are chemically isoalkanes, but they only have specific molecular lengths as a result of distillation.
"Distillation produces upgraded products for specific applications. They can meet the needs of industry or consumers in a niche, as well as in bulk products that require a technically high-quality, environmentally-friendly and renewable raw material," Nyman says.
NEXBTL renewable isoalkane is used in lubricants, for example, as it improves the lubricant's ability to penetrate into the smallest points in need of lubrication.
"Isoparaffinic oils are mainly used in lubricants. They are heavier oils, meaning that they have a higher viscosity. Our customers have told us that they need lighter alternatives."
The prevention of foaming is another significant application of NEXBTL renewable isoalkane and upgraded products made from it.
"Several anti-foaming agents are formulated oils. There is demand for biodegradable anti-foaming agents that could replace non-degradable fossil and silicone oil-based anti-foaming agents. The paper industry, for example, is very interested in the alternative we offer," Nyman says.
Also for printing inks and detergents
Industry can also use NEXBTL renewable isoalkane and upgraded products made from it in, e.g., printing inks, heat carriers and transmission fluids, and detergents.
Wood oils are an application well known to consumers to which NEXBTL renewable isoalkane is suited. Many wood oils contain lots of volatile solvents, so they do not provide wood with the desired permanent protection. The product would protect the wood longer if NEXBTL renewable isoalkane, which is well absorbed by the wood, was added to it with natural oils.
In addition to wood oil, NEXBTL renewable isoalkane could be developed into an environmentally-friendly bicycle chain oil or lock anti-freeze.
"Selecting a product that contains NEXBTL renewable isoalkane is always beneficial for the environment," Nyman sums up.