Neste Oil to move away from microbial oil R&D

By Ron Kotrba | October 07, 2014

Neste Oil announced the company is realigning its long-term R&D efforts from microbial oil research to other areas of technology using forestry and agricultural waste. The company says it remains committed to its goal of further extending its feedstock base and making greater use of waste and residues in this particular area.

“Our microbial oil pilot plant at Porvoo has demonstrated that we have the technical capability for producing microbial oil,” said Neste Oil’s Senior Vice President of Technology Lars Peter Lindfors. “Seen in terms of sustainability, using waste and sidestreams generated by agriculture and forestry as well as industry has a very important role to play in the future, and we have successfully used straw, for example, to produce microbial oil. Two years of in-depth microbial oil research at the pilot plant has generated a lot of valuable know-how and extended our patent portfolio, and we will be able to use the results of this work in other research projects.”

Despite the knowledge gained from Neste Oil’s microbial oil work, however, Lindfors said the process is not economically competitive yet. “The time is not yet ripe for a commercial-scale microbial oil plant,” he said. “Lignocellulose material is not a financially competitive industrial feedstock for producing renewable diesel using the microbial oil process at the moment. We will continue researching agricultural and forestry waste and residues, and believe that lignocellulose inputs will play an important role in future renewable applications.”

 
 
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