Renewable diesel, a new technology from NextChem and Saola Energy

Renewable Diesel is a valuable solution for sustainable mobility and the fastest growing segment in the biofuels industry


NextChem announces its alliance with Saola Energy to license in the international market a technology for the production of Renewable Diesel (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, said HVO) from vegetable oils and residual fats and starts up a roadshow for its promotion on the American market which was taking off yesterday from Houston with the “National Ethanol Conference”, with next steps in Washington in March and Minneapolis in June.

NextChem and Saola Energy will combine their know how and expertise to deliver a comprehensive solution to the marketplace. NextChem will be the licensor of the combined technology and will provide clients with Engineering, Procurement and Construction services and training to ensure successful deployment of the technology. Saola Energy’s patented technology consists of a hydrotreatment step followed by isomerization to produce high-quality Renewable Diesel fuel from oils and residual fats. The technology can process at industrial scale a wide range of feedstocks and is ideal to capture the increased value in low-carbon fuels across multiple jurisdictions1.

Furthermore, the process has a modularized approach and is conceived for capacities as low as 10 million gallons per year (approximately 30.000 ton/year), making it ideal for both smaller bolt-on facilities with access to a limited supply of captive feedstock and larger standalone plants that can aggregate larger amounts of raw materials.

The integration of our technology with existing plants (or bio-refineries) will allow the optimization of their economics via the valorization of byproducts. Companies handling waste oils and residual fats will have access to new opportunities in the market for second generation renewable fuels.

Renewable Diesel (also known as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil or HVO) and traditional Biodiesel (also known as Fatty Acid Methyl Ester or FAME) are often confused. They are, however, different products. Both can be made from vegetable oils and residual fats, but are produced differently: Biodiesel by Transesterification and Renewable Diesel by Hydrotreating. While FAME presents limits of blending with fossil diesel, Renewable Diesel is a drop-in fuel that meets the petroleum fuel ASTM D975 and EN 590 standards. It overcomes blend limits and is currently used in existing diesel engines without any constraint, and with superior properties in comparison with fossil and FAME. In the marketplace Renewable Diesel commands a substantial premium over FAME.

“Renewable Diesel is a valuable solution for sustainable mobility and shows a notable market trend as the fastest growing segment in the biofuels industry. This agreement represents for NextChem an opportunity to improve our technology portfolio in a fast-growing sector and it is also an entry point to the American agri-tech market” said Pierroberto Folgiero, Maire Tecnimont’s and NextChem’s CEO. “NextChem is looking at technological solutions that, while giving best contribution to decarbonization, are a profitable opportunity for entrepreneurs to strengthen their business or create new ones”.

“This collaboration represents a great opportunity to license our technologies worldwide” said Adam Belyamani, Saola Energy’s COO. “With this agreement in place, we are able to supply customers with a complete solution for an integrated renewable diesel facility. This will provide a very attractive solution in the marketplace for parties that are interested in both small or larger scale biorefineries”.

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