Finnish oil refining and marketing company Neste has announced its collaboration with ITOCHU Corporation – a Japanese trading major. Under the new partnership, ITOCHU will be the first ever company in Japan to sell and distribute renewable diesel.
Neste is to provide the renewable fuel, which is also anticipated to be used in delivery vehicles for ITOCHU-owned convenience store FamilyMart. The fuel, which is made using 100% renewable raw materials such as waste cooking oils and plant oil residue, can help reduce greenhouse gas reductions by as much as 90% when compared to fossil fuel-based diesel. It is also what’s known as a ‘drop-in’ fuel – being entirely compatible with typical diesel engines.
In the new deal, ITOCHU is to purchase 100 kilolitres of Neste’s renewable diesel, for a trial use in Kanagawa’s Yokohama city. It is not the company’s first foray into researching alternative fuels, with the firm entering a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in May this year, joining companies including Total Marine Fuels on the joint development study of ammonia as a new marine fuel in Singapore.
The deal also sits in the wider context of Japan’s mission to achieve net-carbon neutrality by 2050. Currently one of the world’s biggest carbon-emitters, the nation’s efforts to turn a new leaf were recently bumped up. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Japan will now seek to cut emissions by 46% from 2013 levels, up from its previous goal of 26%. Targeting emissions from the transport sector is one route to achieve this, and Neste has also inked a deal to provide bio-naphtha to petrochemical company Mitsui Chemicals, as well as Toyota Tsusho as part of their scheme to create bio-petrochemical products.
The Finnish oil firm is also a leading producer of sustainable aviation fuels, and has already assisted airports such as Heathrow transition to the cleaner fuel. According to the World Bank, overall the company’s renewable products helped to reduce customers’ greenhouse gas emissions by 10m tons in 2020 – a figure equivalent to the annual carbon footprint of 1.5 million average EU citizens.