On this segment of Drilling Deep, FreightWaves’ John Kingston is joined by Matt Leuck, Technical Manager of Renewable Road Transportation at Neste. Leuck puts his engine, fuel and equipment expertise to use to support Neste MY Renewable Diesel’s position as a solution to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from heavy duty sectors.

Renewable diesel and biodiesel can both power an engine but are very different and often confused for one another.

Pure biodiesel fuel is not considered a hydrocarbon but a methyl ester — a clean-burning, renewable fuel. It is made from natural oils. Due to blend limits, the amount of biodiesel used in a given vehicle is dependent upon the engine manufacturer, and it usually works in tandem with fossil fuel as opposed to acting as a replacement, according to Leuck.

In contrast, renewable diesel is a pure hydrocarbon, Leuck added. It does not have any blend limits and can act as a drop-in replacement for diesel. It can also be argued that renewable diesel enhances performance in comparison to petroleum-based diesel.

“With renewable diesel, some of the best things people notice is that it is incredibly pure and clean — it looks like water and it has no odor,” Leuck said. “Since it’s so pure and clean on every level, there is a much cleaner combustion. This means there’s much less soot going into EGR and DPF systems. All renewable diesel is a definite step above fossil diesel.”

Neste is helping customers across North America achieve their climate goals faster and easier by providing drop-in, renewable solutions for the transportation, aviation and plastics sector. The company is the leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in the world and has a production footprint in three continents.

On average, Neste produces 3.3 million tons, or roughly a billion gallons, of renewable products per year, according to Leuck. These numbers will increase over the next few years as a result of Neste’s ongoing expansion of its Singapore refinery and the joint venture with Marathon Petroleum in Martinez, CA.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 75% compared to that of fossil diesel. Neste MY Renewable Diesel (R99 diesel) is a Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) made from sustainably sourced 100% renewable raw materials such as used cooking oil and animal fat waste. It is fully compatible with all diesel engines and current diesel fuel distribution infrastructure – from refinery to fueling service stations and end-users.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel fuel has a similar chemical composition to fossil diesel. This means that it is a drop-in replacement for fossil diesel. A drop-in fuel can be used without any modifications, neat or blended at any ratio.

“We wanted to convey personal ownership — ‘It’s MY choice and I am making the choice to be greener and cleaner and leave the planet better than I found it,’” Leuck said.

The demand for renewable diesel continues to grow. In 2022, 39% of the diesel used in California was renewable diesel. For the states that have a clean fuel program, such as California, Oregon and Washington, the price of renewable diesel is competitive with fossil diesel. Renewable diesel also burns cleaner, decreasing potential maintenance costs.

“It’s not going to hurt your wallet to switch — let’s put it that way,” he said.

He said that in addition, because renewable diesel can act as a complete replacement for fossil diesel, adoption will be that much easier and thrust companies forward in meeting their emissions goals today.

“This can help companies, almost overnight, just start ticking all those boxes. That’s a pretty big deal to us — helping our customers reduce their greenhouse gas footprints through cleaner fuel,” he said. “By 2030, our goal is to help our customers reduce 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. Last year we got up to 11.1 million so we are steadily getting there.”

Neste notably serves the transportation market but also serves municipalities, construction, agriculture, power generation, aviation, marine application and more. 

“It goes beyond trucking — it’s everything with a diesel engine,” Luke said.

To learn more about Neste and MY Renewable Diesel, visit the company website.

*Lifecycle greenhouse gas emission reductions compared to fossil diesel and based on current feedstock pathways. Calculation method complies with the LCFS CA-GREET 3.0.

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