Clean power from the Finnish forests

31 March 2016
Puhdasta voimaa suomalaisesta metsästä

The UPM BioVerno renewable diesel project reached a significant goal when the product was launched onto the market at the beginning of May 2015. Finnish energy company St1 has been selling UPM BioVerno as part of their Diesel plus fuel at its filling stations in Finland for almost a year now.

St1 confirms that an important share of its diesel customers use Diesel plus containing UPM BioVerno on a daily basis as there are over 100,000 Diesel plus refills in a day.

“For consumers this is a clear case as Diesel plus with UPM BioVerno is compatible with all diesel engines, just like traditional diesel. In addition, it is seamlessly compatible with the existing distribution infrastructure,” says Matti Pentti, Director, Commercial and Consumer sales at St1.

UPM BioVerno is delivered from Lappeenranta to the St1 blending terminal located in Hamina. It is then blended there with Diesel plus and delivered to St1 service stations across the country.

Diesel plus – Powered by UPM BioVerno

St1 is enhancing its ‘Diesel plus’ with UPM BioVerno renewable diesel. The technical properties of UPM BioVerno make it an excellent component in St1’s Diesel plus.

“Our marketing slogan ´Clean power from Finnish forests` is based on an authentic figure. We have the highest cetane number on the market in our Diesel plus,” Pentti explains.

A higher cetane number improves the engine performance due to a fast combustion of the diesel fuel. A high cetane number combined with state-of-the-art fuel additives also keeps the engine clean. Diesel plus has a cetane number of over 60, whereas the corresponding figure for ordinary diesels is somewhere between 51 and 55.

The brand image of St1 has improved in several aspects during co-operation with UPM.

“An important change has been noticed in the improvement of the recommendation index and spontaneous positive feedback figures that our customers are giving us. According to a recent survey we have achieved record high numbers when asking if our diesel customers would recommend us to other customers as well. We have the top figure in this class on the Finnish market.”

Cleaner city traffic

In addition to fulfilling customers’ quality requirements, the fuel provides important environmental benefits like a significant decrease in fossil CO2 emissions and other hazardous harmful tailpipe emissions when compared with conventional fossil diesel fuels.

St1 is also the distributor of the diesel fuel used in UPM BioVerno field tests in urban buses in Helsinki. The focus of the bus fleet tests is on investigating UPM’s renewable diesel in terms of fuel functionality in bus engines, their emissions and fuel consumption compared to fossil diesel.

“This is an important test as heavy-duty vehicles will cover much more kilometres compared to diesel cars for personal use. Using clean fuels in the engines will also decrease the need for maintenance of the engines and reduce maintenance costs. This is an important aspect in the heavy-duty vehicles such as truck and bus fleets and heavy machinery.”

Replacing fossil fuels

There is no one solution in sight that could replace all fossil energy in transportation. However, St1 aims to steadily increase the share of renewable fuels.

“Our goal is to increase the share of renewable fuels in traffic use – the renewable diesel manufactured by UPM fits our overall strategy perfectly. We are constantly looking for new solutions that benefit us and our customers. St1 produces renewable ethanol fuel from waste, and we now make our diesel fuels using UPM’s tall oil-based product. In Finland, wood-based raw materials will be a key element when increasing the renewable biofuels production, “ Pentti says.

Pentti welcomes the Finnish energy tax mechanism that recognizes fuel grades that are better in terms of local and life-cycle emissions than traditional fossil fuels.

“We expect that there will not be major changes in the Finnish tax system as the demand of renewable fuels is increasing steadily. After all, the main issue is how the existing vehicles can use more and more renewable fuels,” he concludes.

Vesa Puoskari

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