From table to tank: Neste will turn Finland's Christmas ham waste fat into renewable diesel

Turkey
© Not renewable diesel ... yet.

Just think what the waste fat from 46 million Thanksgiving turkeys could fuel.

As part of Neste's Pre-order the Future project, this leading renewable diesel producer wants to collect the waste fat from Finnish households' traditional ham dinners this Christmas and turn it into renewable fuel that will get donated to charities. According to the company's calculations, the waste fat from baking a single ham can be converted into approximately two miles' worth of fuel for a private car, and with some 15 million pounds of ham baked in Finland each Christmas, there's plenty of potential feedstock, and the company hopes to attain its goal of producing enough fuel from food waste to drive three times around the world.

Neste's waste fat campaign, Kinkkutemppu (Ham Trick), will take donated ham fat brought to recycling locations from Finnish households and convert it into renewable diesel at the company's Porvoo refinery, in the same process used by Neste for its industrial renewable fuel production of more than 2 million tons each year.

"In Finland, around seven million kilograms of ham are eaten every Christmas. And every year, excess fat causes problems for households and water supply plants. Instead of disposing of the fat or – even worse – pouring it down the drain, it can be used as an energy source. This also applies to other sources of waste and residue. By recycling different materials, they can be used effectively." - Neste

This campaign aims to demonstrate the circular bioeconomy, and to show how every household can work toward a more sustainable economy, simply by recycling, while also producing a fuel that offers up to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (when compared to conventional diesel). This type of waste and residue reuse and conversion project could have huge role to play in our path to zero waste and clean liquid fuels, especially if brought to bear across a much bigger population, such as the US' 300 million (Finland's 15 million pounds of Christmas ham pales in comparison to the US estimate of some 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving and 22 million on Christmas).

"Transforming large amounts of food waste into waste- and residue-based renewable fuel could help to make festive occasions, such as Thanksgiving, more sustainable. For example, you could drive to your family’s Thanksgiving gathering in a vehicle that’s powered by renewable fuel, safe in the knowledge that excess waste from your meal will be put to good use in creating low-carbon fuel to power yet more journeys. What better way to make use of the excess waste from festive meals?" - Neste

Neste is the world’s largest producer of renewable fuels from waste and residues, and currently produces renewable diesel in Porvoo (Finland), Rotterdam (The Netherlands), and Singapore. At the end of last year, the City and County of San Francisco, California, committed to ending its use of conventional diesel in the city's fleet and switched over to using Neste's renewable diesel for an estimated 50% reduction in diesel emissions from the fleet.

The company's Pre-order the Future project, which features spoken word artist Prince Ea as the futurologist, aims to "create futuristic innovations and to rewrite the future" by explore the use of new types of renewable raw materials to develop sustainable products and services. One of those explorations is the development of a "gamified learning environment" called EduCycle, which employs augmented reality technologies to teach children how to reduce their personal carbon footprint through "an interactive, holographic simulation where children can alter the virtual landscape."

More info is available at Pre-order the Future.

Tags: Biodiesel | Finland | Renewable Energy

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