VTT and Neste to build e-fuels technology demonstration facility
Photo courtesy of Neste

VTT and Neste to build e-fuels technology demonstration facility

VTT, one of the leading research institutions in Europe, and Neste have agreed to build an integrated power-to-liquids (e-fuels) technology demonstration facility in Espoo, Finland. 

Power-to-liquids technologies are on their way to commercialization in scale. E-fuels offer a way to expand the carbon-neutral transport fuel pool beyond biomass-based renewable fuels to replace fossil fuels in existing internal combustion engines. The end product is a transportation fuel suited for aircraft, ships as well as heavy and light road vehicles.

Development of high temperature electrolysis, CO2 capture, and hydrocarbon synthesis technologies have been completed in Business Finland-funded Veturi E-fuel research project and the integrated technology is now ready for implementation. 

The work has started by first modifying the research infrastructure at VTT Bioruukki Pilot Centre, where the demonstration facility is located. During 2022 and early 2023, electrolysis, CO2 capture, and synthesis units located in sea containers will be connected to each other and the VTT Bioruukki research infrastructure. The e-fuel project pilot runs are expected to be completed during 2023. Establishing the infrastructure for power-to-liquids production contributes to the strengthening of co-operation between Neste and VTT in e-fuel production development from pilot to commercial scale.

โ€œNeste as the worldโ€™s leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel refined from waste and residues sees power-to-liquids as a possible complementing technology for future sustainable fuel production. We need breakthrough innovations and continued focus on research and technology development in order to provide cost-efficient and value-creating solutions for the future,โ€ says Lars Peter Lindfors, senior vice president, Innovation, Neste.

The technology demonstration will employ CO2 capture from flue gas, hydrogen production by highly efficient high-temperature electrolysis and fuel synthesis based on the Fischer-Tropsch technology. Both the CO2 capture and electrolysis solutions are provided by Finnish project partners, Kleener Power Solutions Oy and Carbonreuse Finland Oy as well as Convion Oy and Elcogen Oy, respectively. VTT will provide the fuel synthesis unit and technology and Neste will carry out upgrading of the synthetic crude oil into fuel products fulfilling the specifications. Neste is expecting to see a successful integrated demonstration of technologies and to receive at least 300 kilograms of synthetic crude oil for synthetic fuel processing development.

Neste is actively building technology solutions and business to realize commercial production of sustainable e-fuels. Neste started this business platform in its Innovation unit in 2019 as part of its efforts aiming towards commercialization of Power-to-X strategy for synthetic e-fuel and e-feedstock production. Such pilot projects support competence development at Neste as well as more broadly and offer a venue for focused process development and R&D in key technology areas relevant to Power-to-X commercialization.

“Substitution of crude oil in transportation requires utilization of all sustainable solutions like renewable fuels, electric vehicles and synthetic fuels (e-fuels via Power-to-X). Power-to-X is one technology pathway, which has the potential to unlock new raw material pools beyond biomass with innovation to accelerate emission reduction in transportation,โ€ says Dietmar Huber, vice president, Innovation Business Platform Power-to-X, Neste.