Celebrating the NEXBTL patent received 25 years ago
2022 marks two key anniversaries at Neste: It has been 25 years since receiving the patent for our proprietary NEXBTL technology, and 15 years since inaugurating the first NEXBTL unit at Neste’s refinery in Porvoo, Finland.
While there are many achievements worth appreciating in Neste’s history, these two are extremely significant, enabling the company’s transition to the world leader in renewable products that it is today.
NEXBTL – a technology worth celebrating
NEXBTL stands for “next generation biomass to liquid”. It is a unique technology that allows Neste to convert a wide range of renewable raw materials into premium-quality renewable products, including fuels for road transport, and aviation, as well as feedstock for the production of polymers and chemicals. NEXBTL is a revolutionary platform not only because the solutions it creates are so important, but because it allows even low-quality raw materials to be made into high-quality renewable and circular products using an advanced pretreatment process followed by hydrodeoxygenation and isomerization.
Among the renewable products made possible by the NEXBTL technology is Neste MY Renewable Diesel, a drop-in solution that reduces GHG by as much as 75-95% compared to fossil-based diesel. From heavy-duty trucks in the Netherlands to school buses in California, renewable diesel created with NEXBTL is helping to power a more sustainable future for our customers around the world.
How NEXBTL came to be
In the early 1990s, the global conversation around climate change was growing louder, and a market for renewable fuels slowly began to develop. Tasked with exploring new ventures in oil refining, researcher Ulla Kiiski, along with her colleagues Outi Piirainen and Pekka Aalto, developed a process that led to the creation of a new kind of renewable diesel. In 1997, a patent was awarded for NEXBTL, laying the foundation for what Neste would go on to build.
In the early 2000s, Neste found itself pondering the future. Taking action on climate change could no longer be delayed, and the company made a bold decision to focus on producing renewable and circular solutions. This was NEXBTL’s time to shine, and Neste invested heavily in the technology even though the wider discussion around renewable products was still in its infancy.
In 2007, Neste pushed forward into new territory by inaugurating the NEXBTL unit at the company’s refinery in Porvoo, Finland, followed just a few short years later by the opening of additional Neste refineries in Singapore and the Netherlands.
During the years that followed, this ambitious commitment to renewables proved to be a good one, with Neste becoming the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel. Today, it operates refineries in three countries and generates the majority of its revenue from renewable diesel and other renewable products. Volvo, Bosch, and IKEA are just a few of the many brands that have partnered with Neste in order to take advantage of renewable diesel as a way of reducing emissions and progressing toward sustainability goals.
The path still ahead
There is more to celebrate than just the NEXBTL technology itself. We also want to celebrate our customers and our partners over the years for their courage and collaboration in helping Neste create a healthier planet. With equal passion, we want to celebrate every Neste employee who has made this journey possible.
As the company heads into its 75th year of operations in 2023, we wish to spark a fresh sense of commitment and urgency for those same employees, customers, and partners regarding Neste’s vision of leading the way toward a sustainable future together.
As of September 2022, Neste has launched a strategic study regarding the transition of its Porvoo refinery into a world-leading renewable and circular solutions facility. Even as we celebrate the momentous achievements of 15 and 25 years ago, we look forward to what the future will bring, and how Neste can continue to act as a global frontrunner in the transformation of the fossil fuel industry.
In the words of Ulla Kiiski, “Our work is never finished. We set ourselves ambitious goals, and we are constantly pioneering new territories in our field.”