S’pore Home to World’s Largest Production Facility for Jet Fuel Made from Waste Materials
05.17.2023 By Tank Terminals - NEWS

May 17, 2023 [The Strait Times]- Singapore is now home to the world’s largest production facility for jet fuel made from waste materials like used cooking oil and animal fats – a significant step in the nation’s drive to reduce carbon emissions.


This is after Finnish energy giant Neste expanded the capacity of its Tuas South refinery as part of a €1.6 billion (S$2.3 billion) project, which began in 2019 but was delayed by a year due to Covid-19.

The refinery can now produce up to a million tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) each year – 10 times Neste’s previous capacity.

Production at the expanded plant, which also makes renewable diesel and renewable raw materials for polymers and chemicals, started in mid-April. It is expected to ramp up over the course of 2023.

Meanwhile, amid growing demand for greener fuel in the aviation sector, Neste will add 500,000 tonnes of annual SAF production capacity by the start of 2024 through modifications at its refinery in Rotterdam.

There are also plans to further expand the Rotterdam plant so that it will be able to make up to 1.2 million tonnes of SAF a year by the end of 2026.

In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Sami Jauhiainen, Neste’s acting executive vice-president for renewable aviation, said the company has established an integrated SAF supply chain to Changi Airport.

Part of this is an agreement to acquire a minority stake in Changi Airport Fuel Hydrant Installation, which provides fuel storage and infrastructure at the airport.

With this, Changi Airport will join a global network that includes San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, where Neste can supply SAF directly to aircraft.

The company said it is also supplying SAF to various fuel marketing companies, broadening its availability.

At the opening ceremony of the expanded refinery, Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong said SAF will be the“needle-mover” for low-carbon travel.

He noted that the scaling up of SAF production is a key aspect of the Republic’s sustainable air hub blueprint, which is due to be published later in 2023.

Mr Gan also pointed out that Singapore’s energy and chemicals sector is a significant contributor to the Republic’s carbon emissions, and the industry must decarbonise to meet the nation’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

SAF, which meets all the quality and performance requirements of conventional fossil fuels, has been touted as the most promising near-term solution to greatly reduce carbon emissions generated by planes.

While the eco-friendly fuel currently costs three to five times more than regular jet fuel, the International Air Transport Association has estimated that it could contribute about 65 per cent of the reduction in emissions needed by the aviation sector to reach net zero in 2050.

Since July 2022, Singapore Airlines and Scoot flights out of Changi Airport have been using a blend of regular jet fuel and SAF produced by Neste as part of a year-long trial.

Other airlines that have operated flights using a similar blend include American Airlines, Ryanair, Malaysia Airlines and Etihad.

Overall, the expansion of Neste’s Tuas South refinery increases the company’s total production capacity for renewable fuels and materials in Singapore to 2.6 million tonnes per annum – double what the company had here before.

The land area that the refinery now occupies has also gone up to 45ha, from 19ha.

The number of workers has grown from about 120 before the expansion to close to 300 now, the company said.

New features added to the expanded plant include a pre-treatment facility that has a higher capacity and is capable of processing a wider range of more challenging raw materials used for SAF and renewable diesel.

A waste water treatment plant has been built, avoiding the need to outsource the treatment and disposal to licensed companies, which is what was done before.

A new hydrogen production unit allows Neste to use gases emitted from its production process to make the hydrogen that is needed for fuel refinement.

Neste has said that it is constantly on the lookout for lower quality waste materials to use in the production of renewable fuels. One example of this is the oil in waste water that is generated from palm oil mills.

The company is also developing new solutions such as algae to increase and diversify the sources of raw materials that can be used to make renewable fuel.


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