June 04, 2020

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Neste and Outotec introduce 100% bio-based diluent for extracting metals
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Photo courtesy of Neste

Neste and Outotec have jointly verified the viability of applying Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane™ as a fully bio-based diluent for extracting metals in hydrometallurgical processes. The diluent is based on Neste’s NEXBTL technology and produced entirely from bio-based waste and residue raw materials.

Laboratory studies and pilot trials at the Outotec Research Center in Pori, Finland, and Neste’s Technology Center in Porvoo, Finland, confirmed the high-level performance of the product for solvent extraction of copper, and it can be also used for other base metals.

Because of its renewable origin and being readily biodegradable, the bio-based diluent reduces environmental risks and has a remarkably smaller carbon footprint over its life cycle when compared to fossil equivalents. Moreover, Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane evaporates at a lower rate, which improves copper extraction efficiency and safety due to significantly reduced volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane is fully compatible with conventional fossil diluents at solvent extraction plants, and it can be introduced into the extraction process without any downtime.

“This cooperation with Neste is part of our continuous innovation efforts of improving the environmental performance of our technologies and helping our customers to meet their sustainability goals. In this project, experts from two industries discovered synergies and co-created a new application for Neste’s bio-based product,” says Kari Knuutila, chief technology officer at Outotec. 

“Collaboration with Outotec provides us with a great opportunity to introduce Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane as a new 100% bio-based solution to metals extraction. Using Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane as a replacement to fossil diluents provides significant ecological benefits, while simultaneously improving the efficiency, economy and safety of metals extraction processes,” says Mercedes Alonso, executive vice president, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste.

Outotec and Neste have agreed to cooperate in introducing the Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane to metal producers. Outotec will provide technical industry expertise, whereas Neste will be responsible for the production, sales and deliveries of the bio-based diluent to the solvent extraction sites globally.

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