Neste Oil building Singapore renewable diesel plant

By Ryan C. Christiansen | March 09, 2009
Web exclusive posted March 10, 2009, at 5:28 p.m. CST

Oil refining and marketing company Neste Oil Corp. has officially begun building a 550 million ($805 million) NExBTL renewable diesel plant in Singapore, which will annually produce 800,000 metric tons (271 MMgy) of the fuel, mainly from animal fats and palm oil. Plans for the facility, which is being built in the Tuas industrial zone on the southwest side of the island, were originally announced in November 2007. The company said the plant is expected to be complete by the end of 2010 and will employ approximately 100 people.

While produced using the same feedstocks as biodiesel, NExBTL renewable diesel is not biodiesel. In April 2008 Neste Oil changed the name of its Biodiesel division to Renewable Fuels to reflect this fact, the company said. While biodiesel is produced using transesterification, NExBTL-which is a hydrocarbon-based renewable diesel-is produced using hydrogenation and water extraction to convert the fatty acids in vegetable oil and animal fat feedstocks to isoparaffin hydrocarbon, a synthetic diesel fuel.

"The construction of our NExBTL renewable diesel plant in Singapore is proceeding on schedule and on budget," said Matti Lievonen, president and chief executive officer for Neste Oil. "The market has been highly unpredictable in the past year, but the Singapore plant plays an important part in our long-term strategy for growth and our commitment to the project remains solid."

Singapore was chosen as the plant's location because it's near world palm oil feedstock supplies and the city is the world's third-largest oil refining center, the company said.

The company's first NExBTL facility, which annually produces 170,000 metric tons (58 MMgy) of NExBTL renewable diesel, was commissioned at Neste Oil's Porvoo refinery in Finland in the summer of 2007. The company plans to complete a second 58 MMgy plant in Porvoo this year. NExBTL is also building a plant in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, which will annually produce 800,000 metric tons (271 MMgy) of fuel, similar to the Singapore facility. The Rotterdam plant is scheduled to be complete in 2011.

For more information about Neste Oil and NExBTL, read the feature article "Heeding Hydrogenation."
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