By Lauren M. Graham, Ph.D.
On April 4, 2017, Members of the European Parliament (MEP) approved a resolution calling on the European Commission (EC) to phase out the use of palm oil as a component of biofuels and advocating for a single certification scheme for palm oil entering the European Union (EU). The resolution states that biofuels production accounts for 46 percent of the palm oil imported by the EU and requires about one million hectares of tropical soils. To limit the deforestation and habitat degradation that comes from unsustainable palm oil production, the EU aims to phase out the use of vegetable oils that drive deforestation as a component of biofuels by 2020. Additionally, the resolution encourages the use of a single certification scheme with specific sustainability criteria for palm oil to ensure that only sustainably produced palm oil and products enter the EU market. MEP also called on EC to improve the traceability of imported palm oil.
Following the approval of the resolution, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced an update to the Crude Palm Oil Dashboard on its website. The dashboard provides information on Neste’s crude palm oil suppliers across the supply chain in an effort to improve supply chain transparency. Neste states that all of its crude palm oil has been fully traceable to the plantation level since 2007 and has been 100 percent certified since 2013.
On March 24, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG®, announced its approval of draft proposals by the Swedish government regarding mandated reductions in traffic fuel emissions and the continued tax exemption for high-blended biofuels. By 2030, the government aims to reduce carbon emissions from transportation by 70 percent. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, the ambitious targets and long-term perspective will help support innovation and investments in biofuels. Neste, which has a strong focus on developing cost-efficient technologies to convert forest residues into biofuels, stated that the substantial amount of forest-based raw materials in the country will likely play a key role in achieving the proposed goals.
On March 9, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced that its My Renewable Diesel helped reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 6.7 million tons in 2016. The reduction of carbon emissions from MY Renewable Diesel is equivalent to the removal of 2.4 million passenger cars from the road for one full year. The low-carbon diesel, which is refined from renewable raw materials, is suitable for all diesel-powered passenger cars and heavy transport vehicles, including buses, garbage trucks, and emergency vehicles, without the need for vehicle-related investments or modifications. Neste aims to increase the total annual GHG emission reduction volume to seven million tons in 2017.
On January 17, 2017, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), announced the rebranding of its “Neste Renewable Diesel” to “Neste MY Renewable Diesel,” and the updating of other names within the renewable products family to “Neste MY” brand names. Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a low-carbon drop-in renewable fuel that does not require vehicle modifications, and can be refueled into any blending ratio due to its compatibility with existing diesel fuels. Compared to conventional petroleum diesel, Neste MY Renewable Diesel enables up to 80 percent lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the lifecycle.
On January 17, 2017, Neste, a member of BRAG, announced a research and development cooperation with Bioenergy La Tuque to study the potential of using forest residues as a raw material in biofuel production in La Tuque, Canada. The cooperation will expand Neste’s raw material selection, which currently consists of ten raw materials for renewable product production, and will increase the use of waste and residues. The project will assess the biomass availability at a competitive cost, identify technology bottlenecks in process lines, and validate the acceptable level of risk.
On November 30, 2016, Neste, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), released a statement in response to the publication of the European Commission’s (EC) proposal on the revised Renewable Energy Directive (Directive) for 2021 to 2030. The aim of the Directive is to raise renewable energy usage in Europe to 27 percent by 2030. In the revised Directive, the EC introduced a mandate requiring fuel suppliers to include a minimum share of advanced biofuels in their offering, which will increase steadily between 2021 and 2030. Neste highlighted the fact that for the first time renewable solutions from the aviation and marine sectors are included in the biofuels blending mandate. Neste stated the proposal would support biofuels use and development in Europe, and provide predictability that would allow companies to plan their long-term operations and investments. The proposal requires approval from the European Council and the European Parliament before it becomes official.