Neste Oil launches joint algae research program
Finnish renewable diesel producer Neste Oil has launched a joint algae research program with the Marine Research Centre at the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) in an effort to further expand its feedstock portfolio by potentially incorporating algal oil as a raw material for the production of NExBTL, the company’s trademarked renewable diesel product.
Launched in August, the two-year research program with SYKE will focus on testing the lipid production capacity of different types of algal strains and analyzing how the quality and quantity of the lipids could be optimized by adjusting the conditions under which algae are grown. Since 2008, the use of planktonic algae has been studied as a source of bioenergy during several national and international projects at SYKE’s Marine Research Centre. The main objective has been screening and optimizing the lipid production capacity of algae strains isolated from the Baltic Sea.
“It is great to have the opportunity to tap into the world-class algae-related know-how that SYKE has to support our own in-house expertise,” said Pauliina Uronen, algae research project manager for Neste Oil. “The new program is intended to help ensure that we have access to industrial-scale volumes of cost-effective algae oil for our future production needs.”
According to Neste Oil, the suitability of algal oil for use in the NExBTL process has already been confirmed as it’s already working with a number of international research institutions, universities and companies in the algae research arena. Previously, the company announced this summer that it would take part in two new international algae research projects in Australia and the Netherlands. In addition to algae, the company intends to use jatropha and camelina oils to produce NExBTL.