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Vegetable oil and Animal fat as a Fuel for Aeroplanes

Vegetable oil byproducts from industrial food production as well as used cooking oil from restaurants are collected, with the whole mix then refined into a clear, clean-burning liquid. This is called as Renewable diesel which is far different from other fuel produced with waste fat or vegetable oils, known as biodiesel. The latter has been around in one form or another since Rudolf Diesel used fuel made from peanuts to test the engine he invented at the 1900 World’s Fair in Paris. While biodiesel can only be mixed with normal fuel up to a certain percentage before engines and infrastructure have to be modified, renewable diesel can simply be “dropped in”, meaning it can potentially play a greater role in making existing fleets of vehicles more friendly to the planet. 

Some of the key inputs are pig, beef and poultry fat which is collected from slaughterhouses and then rendered down. Fish fat from farms in Southeast Asia makes its way to the company’s processing plant in Singapore. Vegetable oil byproducts from industrial food production as well as used cooking oil from restaurants are collected, with the whole mix then refined into a clear, clean-burning liquid. 

The process is not entirely uncontroversial. Some of the vegetable oil residue is from palm oil processing. President and CEO of Neste, Lievonen says that Neste is merely using waste from an industry that would be there anyway. Environmental groups contend that buying the leftovers directly supports palm oil cultivation, which has been linked to large-scale deforestation. 

Neste has already partnered with a number of cities, including San Francisco, San Diego and Helsinki, to run their entire bus fleets on 100 per cent renewable diesel. By comparison Transport for London uses a 20 per cent biodiesel blend from a UK company, Argent Energy, to fuel around a third of the capital’s buses.

Batteries that can reliably shift heavy loads over such distances at an economical cost, do not yet exist, and – even at the current rapid pace of technological advancement – appear unlikely to replace diesel any time soon. 

But Neste plans to continue its expansion. In 2015 it became the world's largest producer of renewable fuel from waste and it currently has capacity to make 2.6 million tonnes (3.2 billion liters) a year. It says that it aims to ramp up production to 3 million tonnes by 2020 and 4 million tonnes by 2022 - enough to power several million cars for a year. 



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