Discarding the confrontational view - The biofuel and food industries share a number of major potential synergies

09.02.2012

Joint press release by Neste Oil Corporation and Raisioagro Ltd
9 February 2012 at 3.00 pm (EET)

Discarding the confrontational view - The biofuel and food industries share a number of major potential synergies

Neste Oil and Raisio have worked together for a number of years on how by-products and sidestreams generated by Finnish agriculture and food manufacturing can be used as inputs for producing biofuels. The two companies held a joint seminar today, 9 February, entitled 'From Sidestreams to Highways' in Helsinki to discuss the opportunities offered by renewable raw material sidestreams and related issues.

Up until now, cooperation between the two companies has focused on Finnish oilseed rape and the surplus oil left over from animal feed and food production that Neste Oil uses as one of its feedstocks for producing its low-emission NExBTL renewable diesel.

Going forward, the two companies believe that it will be possible to make more efficient use of field-based biomass in the future than is the case today. Increasing oilseed rape yields and making more effective use of other biomass produced on arable land would benefit everyone in the food, animal feed, and biofuel industries.

"True innovations are often born out of people working together in the areas where different types of expertise interface with each other. Projects in areas like these are one way of helping develop a more sustainable food chain and support greater overall sustainability," note Raisio's CEO, Matti Rihko and Neste Oil's President & CEO, Matti Lievonen.

Neste Oil Corporation

Hanna Maula
Director, Corporate Communications

Further information:

Neste Oil, Lars Peter Lindfors, Senior Vice President, Technology and Strategy, tel. +358 50 458 3605
Raisioagro, Ilmo Aronen, R&D Director, tel. +358 50 511 0081

More information on the work being done to improve oilseed rape yields, protein production, making greater use of straw, and microbial oil production can be found below.

Raisioagro in brief

Raisioagro Ltd is a subsidiary of Raisio plc. Raisioplc is an international specialist in plant-based nutrition. Raisio's key market areas are Finland, Great Britain, Sweden, Russia, Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic Countries. Raisio plc's shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd. The Group's net sales in 2010 totaled EUR 443.0 million and the company has over 1,400 employees.

Raisioagro's core areas of expertise include animal feed, the grain trade, protein meals and plant oils, agricultural inputs and bioenergy. Raisioagro provides producers with a comprehensive range of main agricultural inputs, now also available through the company's easy and convenient online store. Raisioagro is actively developing the sustainability of the Finnish food chain. The company also develops new innovative solutions for producing bioenergy from field biomass.

Neste Oil in brief

Neste Oil Corporation is a refining and marketing company concentrating on low-emission, high-quality traffic fuels. The company produces a comprehensive range of major petroleum products and is the world's leading supplier of renewable diesel. The company had net sales of EUR 15.4 billion in 2011 and employs around 5,000 people. Neste Oil's share is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

Neste Oil is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and is also featured in the Ethibel Excellence investment register. The company has also been included in The Global 100 list of the world's most sustainable corporations for several consecutive years. Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) has ranked Neste Oil as one of the best reporters of its forest footprint in the Oil & Gas sector. Further information on the company can be found at www.nesteoil.com and on NExBTL renewable diesel at http://www.nesteoil.com/default.asp?path=1,41,11991,12243,12335.

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Additional information on improving oilseed rape yields and expanding protein production, making greater use of straw, and microbial oil production

Improving oilseed rape yields will benefit both the food and biofuels industries

An average of 80,000 hectares have been used for growing oilseed rape and turnip rape in Finland over the last decade. In addition to extending the amount of land used for cultivating these crops, improving the yields the plant varieties offer represents an important way of increasing Finland's protein production. A recent Finnish study*) has shown that plant breeding can help improve both the protein and oil yield of oilseed rape.

Boreal Plant Breeding Ltd., Neste Oil, and Raisioagro launched an oilseed rape development project in 2011 aimed at developing spring strains capable of producing higher yields of both oil and protein suitable for Finnish growing conditions. The goal is to increase harvest yields by 40% by 2020 by maximizing use of the genetic diversity of plants in the Brassica family, such as oilseed rape and turnip rape. To date, over 100 different Brassica genotypes have been collected from around the world as part of this work.

Higher yields will make growing oilseed rape more attractive to farmers, improve Finland's self-sufficiency in proteins, and make more rapeseed oil available for use in producing renewable diesel.

*) Peltonen-Sainio, Jauhiainen, Hyövelä & Nissilä, 2011

Increasing Finland's self-sufficiency in proteins is important

Oilseed rape and turnip rape are the most important arable crops grown in Finland in terms of the country's animal husbandry. Finland only produces around 15% of the protein needed for feeding the country's livestock, and the EU as a whole only produces around 30%. Increasing self-sufficiency in this area will help ensure the continuity of livestock-based food production during crises or similar events.

Making greater use of straw

Around 3 million tons of straw, equaling about 10 terawatt hours in the gross amount of energy, is produced annually as a by-product of cereal cultivation in Finland. Only a small proportion of this is collected for animal litter purposes or energy use, however. A much smaller proportion of straw is used in Finland than in many other countries, such as Denmark, for example.

"Straw could be collected from fields at least every third year without endangering the future yield potential of the land," says Raisioagro's R&D Director, Ilmo Aronen. "This would produce over 1 million tons of straw annually for use as a raw material for various biological processes."

The potential represented by making greater use of straw is something that interests both Raisioagro and Neste Oil.

Neste Oil's microbial oil projects

Neste Oil is building a pilot plant at its Technology Center in Porvoo, Finland to produce waste-based microbial oil. Due to be completed in the second half of 2012, this will be the first pilot plant in Europe designed to produce microbial oil for use in manufacturing renewable fuel from waste-based raw materials. Neste Oil's goal is to further extend the range of feedstocks it uses for producing renewable fuels, which currently consists of various types of vegetable oil, sidestreams from vegetable oil production, and waste animal fat from the food processing industry.

"Microbes can produce oil from an extensive range of agricultural and industrial waste and by-products," explains Neste Oil's Senior Vice President, Technology and Strategy, Lars Peter Lindfors. "10-13% of straw, for example, can be converted into microbial oil that can provide an excellent feedstock for our NExBTL renewable diesel. This fits very well with Neste Oil's goal of increasing the amount of waste, sidestreams, and by-products we use in our raw material procurement."

"Processing straw as part of microbial oil production also generates valuable microbial protein that we can use in our feed production," continues Raisioagro's Ilmo Aronen. "Looked at from the perspective of the entire production chain, we can see that food production, feed production, and energy generation do not actually compete with each other, but rather complement each other."