Finland looks to “Finnish” first in biofuels

January 7, 2018 |

As temperatures across much of the Eastern United States have been unbearably and dangerously low thanks to a bomb cyclone and scary sounding meteorological talk, we look to Finland – where temperatures are surprisingly warmer than much of the Eastern U.S. and biofuels are being adopted by cities left and right. So grab a blanket and some hot cocoa as we delve into some of Finland’s most notable recent biofuel developments – just try not to get too jealous of their warmer weather and biofuel loving government support.

Finland cities are taking action on their carbon neutral goals and taking them oh so seriously. The Public Works Department at the City of Espoo, the second largest city in Finland, announced their decision to use Neste MY Renewable Diesel in all of its diesel powered machines. In case you aren’t aware of Neste MY Renewable Diesel, it is produced entirely from waste and residues. The transition to renewable diesel is part of the City of Espoo’s target to make Espoo completely carbon neutral by 2030. The aim is for the City of Espoo to switch all of its diesel engines to renewable diesel in stages.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel has also been adopted by the City of Porvoo, and by Finnish companies such as Lassila & Tikanoja and DB Schenker. Other users of Neste MY Renewable Diesel are the Finnish airport operator Finavia, in its airport buses at Helsinki Airport, and the non-governmental aid organization UFF in its logistics chain.

“One of the cornerstones of the City of Espoo’s strategy is to make Espoo carbon neutral over the next twelve years,” said Harri Tanska, Director of Public Works Department at the City of Espoo. “One important step in this direction is the adoption of Neste MY Renewable Diesel, which will be taken into use for our diesel-powered machines and other mobile equipment. This product enables us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%. This is the same amount of emissions that would be reduced every year by taking around 400 cars off the road. This figure is clearly higher than the number of cars used by the Public Works Department of the City of Espoo. We’re pleased to be able to start the new year with renewable diesel, allowing us to make a much smaller carbon footprint.”

“We’re delighted to be able to help the City of Espoo to meet its ambitious emissions targets,” said Sam Holmberg, Vice President responsible for Neste’s Marketing and Services business area in Finland. “It’s great to be able to make the air cleaner in the urban parts of Espoo, both for users of machinery and commercial vehicles and indeed for everyone in the city. As shown by research carried out at the Tampere University of Technology, local emissions can drop practically overnight by a large fraction after switching to Neste MY Renewable Diesel.”

“At the turn of the year, we expanded the availability of Neste MY Renewable Diesel in Espoo to take in the Muurala service station. This means that this top-quality product is now available for light vehicles at nine service stations, and for heavy vehicles at twelve Neste Truck stations,” Holmberg said.

For the love of biofuels

Some think Finland’s love for biofuels isn’t such a great thing, like a leading researcher who said that blind love is keeping the country from switching towards electric vehicles along with other countries in Europe, as reported in August 2017 in The Digest.

But that isn’t stopping the national government from being 100% behind biofuels. As reported by the Digest in November 2016, the national government approved its climate and energy strategy for 2030 setting an objective that biofuels are the basis for 40% of all transport fuels volume by 2030. In addition, the government said that the renewable energy share of market should be raised by 50% or more by 2030. Ultimately, the government aims to create a 100% carbon-neutral energy base for Finland — emphasizing the country’s wood resources as a source for energy and fuel. How’s that for a biofuel-lovin’ government?

Critics were quick to point out the danger of over relying on biofuels and power alone. Former Finnish Labor minister of labor and SDP politician Lauri Ihalainen warned, “The strategy would also raise the timber harvest limits to such a high level that you would have to calculate on there also being room for developing innovative wood products with higher added value.”

Bottom Line

With big biofuel companies based in Finland like Neste, UPM Biofuels, and others, and with established targets for biofuels and a carbon neutral economy, and their abundant forests and powerful biomass industry, we see Finland continuing their focus on biofuels. In fact, we see Finland crossing that finish line to being carbon neutral sooner rather than later. Expect to see more fantastic feats from Finland in 2018.

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