Neste and partners conclude research project for accelerated commercial-scale production of synthetic e-fuels

Neste and partners have concluded a three-year e-fuel research project demonstrating high-temperature electrolysis (SOEC), carbon capture, and hydrocarbon synthesis technologies and covering all parties in the value chain from carbon capture to green hydrogen and fuel production, logistics, and users of the transportation fuels in aviation, road, and marine transport.

Illustration; Image by Offshore Energy

During this project, the development of synthetic e-fuels towards commercial-scale production was accelerated and hundreds of kilograms of synthetic hydrocarbons intended for the production of novel sustainable transportation fuel were generated, Neste explained.

The e-fuel research project was conducted by a consortium of 15 partners. It was funded by Business Finland and coordinated by VTT as part of the Neste Veturi ecosystem which develops sustainable fuels and chemicals from renewable and recycled raw materials that have been difficult to utilize so far.

The hydrocarbons generated during the project were refined by Neste mainly into carbon-neutral synthetic e-diesel, which was tested on a diesel-powered tractor in late 2023. During the project, technologies of the consortium companies were developed further, and the produced diesel burned more cleanly than fossil and renewable diesels in the current market, Neste stated.

Dietmar Huber, Vice President of Innovation Business Platform Power-to-X at Neste, said: “The research and development of Power-to-X technologies is one of our key focus areas. E-fuels offer a way to expand the carbon-neutral transport fuel pool beyond biomass-based renewable fuels to replace fossil fuels.

“In the aviation sector, specifically, where the constraints of battery range and weight pose challenges, the development of sustainable electric aviation fuels suitable for current aircraft and distribution infrastructure plays an important role in reducing the use of fossil fuels. It has been our pleasure to participate in the E-Fuel project, the results of which create a good foundation for continuing the development work.”

VTT Research Professor Juha Lehtonen, responsible leader of the project, added: “I’m happy about the very successful results of the project. VTT together with industrial partners developed further technologies for green hydrogen production, CO2 capture and e-fuels synthesis and finally we successfully demonstrated the integration of these process parts and the production of e-fuels.

“Furthermore, we were able to demonstrate the high quality of the produced paraffinic e-fuel with low emissions in the field test. We also gathered and developed valuable information on the profitability and sustainability of e-fuels production.”

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