Neste and the Finnish industrial services provider Outotec have jointly demonstrated the suitability of Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane™ as a fully bio-based diluent for metal extraction in hydrometallurgical processes. The diluent is based on Neste's NEXBTL technology and is produced exclusively from bio-based waste and residues.
Laboratory studies and pilot tests at Outotec's Research Centre in Pori and Nestes Technology Centre in Porvoo (both in Finland) have confirmed the product's high performance for solvent extraction of copper. It can also be used for other base metals.
As the diluent is manufactured from renewable raw materials and is biodegradable, it reduces environmental risks and leaves a much smaller CO2 footprint than comparable fossil products over its entire life cycle. In addition, Neste MY Renewable Isoalkanes evaporates more slowly. This makes the extraction of copper more efficient and safer, as significantly fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released.
Neste MY Renewable Isoalkanes are fully compatible with conventional fossil diluents in solvent extraction plants and can be added to the extraction process without downtime.
"Working with Neste is part of our ongoing efforts to improve the environmental performance of our technologies and help our customers achieve their sustainability goals. During this project, two experts from different industries have discovered synergies and developed a new application for Neste's bio-based products," says Kari Knuutila, Chief Technology Officer at Outotec.
"The partnership with Outotec offers us a great opportunity to introduce Neste's MY Renewable Isoalkanes as a 100% bio-based solution for metal extraction. Replacing fossil solvents with our MY Renewable Isoalkanes offers significant environmental benefits while improving the efficiency, economy and safety of metal extraction," said Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste.
Outotec and Neste have agreed to cooperate in the market launch of Neste MY Renewable Isoalkanes at metal producers. While Outotec will provide the technical industry expertise, Neste will be responsible for the manufacturing, sales and worldwide delivery of the bio-based solvent to the extraction plants.