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Aalto University’s microbial oil research plays a key role in developing Neste Oil’s pilot plant

19.12.2011

Aalto University School of Chemical Technology has been involved in developing production technology for microbial oil, which will be used at a pilot plant being built at Neste Oil's Technology Centre in Porvoo.

This will be the first plant in Europe to produce waste-based microbial oil to be used in the production of renewable fuels. The plant will be used to develop the microbial oil production process and test various raw materials for producing microbial oil, such as straw and other agricultural residues as well as industrial waste and residues.

Professor Simo Laakso’s biochemistry research group has also had a role in developing the pilot plant. Strong scientific expertise has been successfully combined with practical development work. Based on the results of the collaboration, Neste Oil has applied for patents for its microbial oil technology. “Aalto University’s microbial oil research is revolutionary in terms of its multidisciplinary approach, and will eventually lead to a top Finnish innovation,” says Professor Simo Laakso.

Construction of the plant supports Neste Oil’s target of utilising microbial oil as the raw material for the renewable NExBTL diesel fuel in the future. The pilot plant is scheduled for completion in the latter part of 2012 and its investment cost will be approximately EUR 8 million. According to Petri Lehmus, Neste Oil’s Vice President, Research and Technology, the next stages in development work will concentrate on fine-tuning the production process and bringing it up to industrial scale. Commercial production of microbial oil will be possible earliest in 2015.

Further information:

Professo Simo Laakso
Aalto University
School of Chemical Technology
simo.laakso [at] aalto [dot] fi
Tel. +358 50 5004503

 

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