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Making it easier for California to fight climate change and #buildbackbetter

We are investing today in a green recovery, powered by an energy and transport system that fights climate change and air pollution while supporting jobs.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neste, the world's leading producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel made from waste and residue materials, is investing to help businesses and cities create a green recovery in California.

COVID-19 has brought to light the need for society to act now to prevent a climate catastrophe, with poll after poll showing that many Americans, especially Millennials and Generation Z, view solving climate change as a top priority. 

In response to the growing calls for climate action, governments, businesses, and cities are making bold promises to create a healthier and more sustainable future. California, for example, is taking action with new legislation to encourage the use of electric trucks. 

For Neste, a company which is in the business of fighting climate change, this is good news. Any action to reduce society’s reliance on fossil fuels is a step in the right direction. 

However, reducing carbon emissions from some segments of the transport sector will be challenging.  Heavy road transport, which includes big rigs, cement mixers, emergency response vehicles, tractors, and many other large vehicles, is recognized as hard to electrify. Similarly, the aviation industry will continue to rely on liquid fuels in the decades ahead. 

“This is where advanced biofuels come in,” said Jeremy Baines, President of Neste US. “For the past decade, Neste’s renewable diesel has enabled California businesses and cities to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Our fuel has played a major role in the success of the state’s low carbon fuel standard, replacing more than 1.6 billion gallons of fossil diesel.”

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Neste’s 100% renewable advanced biofuels will continue to play a big role in the Golden State, enabling California’s forward-thinking businesses and cities to kickstart a green recovery. To help, Neste is offering more circular solutions, growing the market for sustainable aviation fuel and making it easier for customers to switch from fossil fuels to renewable diesel. 

From Trash to Treasure: Fueling a City’s Fleet Through a Circular Economy

Neste’s entire renewables business model is centered around the idea of a circular economy.

“All of our renewable products are made by recycling -- or rather upcycling -- one industry’s waste into another industry’s treasure,” said Baines. “Our advanced biofuels are the perfect example of this: using waste and residue materials from our food system to power our transportation system.”

Neste's circular economy

Now, Neste is bringing this circular economy model to customers in California and beyond. 

In 2019, Neste, in collaboration with Western States Oil, began working with the City of Oakland, California, to collect used cooking oil from businesses within the city limits. In turn, Neste converts this locally sourced waste into renewable diesel to power the city’s municipal fleets, ranging from garbage and recycling trucks to emergency response vehicles and to street cleaners. 

The circular economy is continuing to benefit Oakland by improving air quality, keeping waste out of landfills and putting money back into the pockets of local businesses. This is critically important because poor air quality has been linked with increased risk for COVID-19 infection as well as many other health-related issues. Furthermore, this circular approach did not cost the city of Oakland -- or taxpayers -- anything extra. 

Now, Neste is scaling up the Oakland circular economy model to a global level. McDonald’s chains in the Netherlands will now power their logistics with Neste MY Renewable Diesel™, made from the oil used to fry French fries and nuggets at 252 McDonald’s restaurants across the country. 

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Neste’s recent acquisition of Mahoney Environmental in the U.S. better positions the company to offer circular solutions. Mahoney provides back-end services, including used cooking oil collection and recycling, for industrial kitchens in airports, hotels, restaurants, stadiums and many other venues across the country. Neste can work with any of these entities to create a circular economy.

There are so many possibilities. Imagine, for example, a world where the flights out of San Francisco, California, to Chicago, Illinois, or Dallas, Texas, are powered by the used cooking oil collected from Chicago’s O’Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth airports. Or, a world where sports fans cheering on the San Francisco 49’ers can access Levi’s Stadium on buses powered by renewable diesel made from the stadium’s own used cooking oil. 

Sustainable Aviation Fuel is Taking Off at SFO

While air travel has slowed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still a fast-growing industry. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) forecasts an increase in U.S. airline passengers from 917 million in 2019 to 1.31 billion in 2039—43% growth over a 20-year period. With that growth could come an increase in the use of fossil jet fuel and greenhouse gas emissions if we continue business as usual. 

For nearly a decade, Neste has been doing its part to support the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). SAF works with existing aircraft engines and infrastructure, and it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80% compared to fossil jet fuel. Neste is currently expanding its renewable products facility in Singapore, a project that will bring the company's SAF production capacity to 340 million gallons. 

In June, Neste delivered its first batch of sustainable aviation fuel, under its brand name Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel™, to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) via existing pipeline infrastructure, a major milestone for the company. The SAF is blended into the jet fuel pool, and will be used by major airlines that have committed to fight climate change.  

Neste is providing sustainable aviation fuel to San Francisco international Airport

This delivery of SAF is part of an ongoing “climate quantum leap” at SFO. It is a major step forward since the airport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Neste and a group of eight airlines and fuel producers to expand the use of SAF in 2018. The agreement was the first of its kind to include fuel suppliers, airlines, and airport agencies in a collaborative effort to accelerate the global transition to SAF. 

“Air travel allows us to connect with each other, appreciate the natural wonders of the world, and experience the richness of diverse cultures. These are the things we want to preserve by fighting climate change,” said Chris Cooper, Vice President, North America, Renewable Aviation. “That’s why we are committed to growing the market for sustainable aviation fuel in North America, so future generations can enjoy the many benefits of air travel.”

Sustainable aviation fuel offers an immediate solution for reducing the direct greenhouse gas emissions of flying. For example, the volume of sustainable aviation fuel that Neste expects to provide to SFO will offset greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1,200 flights between SFO and NYC on an A320 or 737. 

Going forward, Neste is exploring bringing sustainable aviation fuel to the United States’ fast growing private aviation sector. The U.S. private aviation sector is the largest in the world, and the number of private or chartered flights is expected to keep growing. The industry currently consumes more than 1.8 billion gallons of conventional jet fuel each year. For example, Van Nuys airport in California is one of the five busiest private aviation airports in the United States. 

The main users of private jets are corporate executives and other VIPs, as well as first responders. Importantly, many of the corporations and individuals using private jets, primarily to increase productivity,  have publicly committed to fight climate change. 

More Renewable Diesel to Move California Toward a Cleaner Future

BloombergNEF predicts that by 2040 70% of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles will still be using fossil fuels. Renewable diesel fuel is a “today solution”, one that can accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels in California and beyond.  

This summer, four new Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ fueling stations opened in Wasco (2), Buttonwillow (1) and Shafter (1). They join existing stations in San Leandro, San Jose, Keyes, and Ripon.  In many cases, Neste refurbished and upgraded existing fueling stations to offer renewable diesel--something that could be done because renewable diesel is compatible with existing fueling infrastructure.  The company’s ambition is to create a “green fueling network” across the West Coast U.S., making it even easier for fleet managers to make the switch to renewable diesel. 

Building a green fueling network across North America

“COVID-19 has shone a light on the important role trucking plays in preserving our quality of life. Trucks deliver packages to our doors, supply hospitals, and restock grocery stores,” said Carrie Song, Vice President, North America, Renewable Road Transport. “It is essential that we keep these vehicles moving with much less greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Renewable diesel can do just that, powering the state’s economic recovery while also helping fleet operators to quickly and affordably achieve their climate change targets.”

Renewable diesel works with existing engines, emitting up to 80% less greenhouse gas emissions and less pollution compared to fossil diesel. In California, renewable diesel is competitive with fossil diesel while also delivering superior engine performance and reduced maintenance costs. Because it is a drop-in solution, there is no waiting around for the necessary support infrastructure to be built -- whether it’s charging stations, RNG fueling terminals, or hydrogen fueling stations.  

Helping California communities beyond climate change

Beyond climate change, Neste recently committed over $32,000 to aid Meals on Wheels of Alameda County and tapped other corporate partners to participate in the fundraising effort. Together with East Bay Clean Cities Coalition, NuStar Energy, Van De Pol, and Western States Oil Company, these efforts have generated over $40,000-- the equivalent of nearly 5,000 nutritious meals for those in need during the pandemic.

Helping fight climate change AND hunger

“Neste has a long history of helping California fight climate change, and now we are proud to join in the state’s fight against hunger and food security issues,” said Theodore Rolfvondenbaumen, Communications Manager for Neste in North America. “This collaboration with Meals on Wheels of Alameda County puts food on the table for those who need a helping hand in these hard times and is a step forward in our ongoing journey to help create a healthier, sustainable future for all Californians.” 

A bright future ahead for California, powered by renewable fuels. 

Fifteen years ago, Neste was an oil company faced with the hatching “Black Swan” of climate change. Taking small steps at first, Neste has turned into a “Green Swan,” becoming a global leader in renewable products and the third most sustainable company in the world. 

Today, Neste's renewable products are making a real, lasting impact. Last year, the company's renewable products prevented more than 9.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent from entering the atmosphere. Approximately one-third of those greenhouse gas reduction savings came from North America, primarily because many businesses and cities in California chose to kick the oil habit and make the switch to advanced biofuels.  

Neste's goal is to get that number up to 20 million tons by 2030. California will play a critical role in achieving this. The state is full of forward-thinking cities and businesses that have chosen to make fighting climate change and air pollution a priority. 

Whether it’s related to sustainability or simply supporting California communities, Neste’s commitment to help the state continues even through the pandemic. Neste’s hope is that post COVID-19, businesses, cities and residents in California will choose to keep working with us and our many partners to create a green recovery and build back better.  

Roadmap for a sustainable future