Renewable diesel has a bright future: NextChem and Saola Energy partnership will help feedstock suppliers of all sizes take full advantage of it

July 7, 2020 |

By NextChem

Special to The Digest

Transportation accounts for 28% of global warming emissions in the U.S. and is heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Innovation within the transportation industry is necessary to combat climate change and while electrification provides compelling opportunities for reducing carbon emissions in the light-duty vehicle fleet, in heavy duty applications (trucking, aviation, marine, etc) biofuels remain the only scalable and technologically mature solution.

Renewable diesel is the fastest growing segment of the biofuels sector and, when produced for waste and residual oils and fats, it delivers a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when used to replace petroleum diesel. It is a drop-in fuel derived from fats, oil, and greases (“FOGs”), has similar properties to petroleum diesel, meets all the specifications of ASTM D975 or EN590, but is 100 percent bio-based. And unlike biodiesel, which is also made from FOGs, renewable diesel can be used in the same infrastructure as petroleum diesel and does not require any modifications to be used in a normal diesel engine. For all these reasons, renewable diesel has a bright and lucrative future.

Large refineries from the oil and gas sector have come to dominate the renewable diesel space. Conventional wisdom is that the production of renewable diesel is only economically viable at a very large scale and when co-located with a petroleum refinery. Consequently, small and mid-size companies that have captive control or regional access to FOGs (fats, oils, and greases) are not capitalizing on the value of their feedstock.

But that is no longer the case.

NextChem and Saola Energy have created an international partnership to bring turnkey renewable diesel technology to feedstock suppliers of all sizes, allowing them to capture the value inherent in their feedstock and participate in the market for second generation renewable fuels.

Leveraging NextChem’s roots in oil & gas and traditional polymers and Saola Energy’s extensive experience in engineering, process design, and project management, the resulting partnership ensures timely and cost-effective technology deployment. NextChem streamlines the process by serving as the single point of contact for the technology, engineering, procurement and construction, while providing process and execution guarantees.

Many clients will pay back their investment in just two to four years.

Renewable diesel has significant benefits for the planet and, when implemented strategically, can also support a company’s bottom line. And now it is a benefit that is not out of reach for all refiners.

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