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Fortum’s new clean fuels technology receives award

Posted: 22 May 2003

The developers of Fortum’s NExOCTANE production process received this year’s Finnish Engineering Award. The award winning technology is used to produce iso-octane, a first class gasoline component.

The technology, awarded by The Finnish Association of Graduate Engineers TEK and the Tekniska Föreningen i Finland TFIF, is used to convert MTBE-plants for iso-octane production. The big production plant in Edmonton, Canada has already been converted to produce the clean fuels component for the California, USA market.

The award is granted annually to a person or a task force who has considerably advanced the technical know-how in Finland. The Fortum task force comprised: Prof. Juhani Aittamaa and Prof. Outi Krause of the Helsinki University of Technology; Lic. in Tech. Antti Pyhälahti, Mr Juhani Rintala, MSc(Eng) and Mr Juha Jakkula, MSc(Eng) of Fortum/Neste Engineering.

The recipients of the award have developed a technique that enables the economical conversion of MTBE production plants to produce iso-octane. The project has had several partners, such as TEKES - the National Technology Agency of Finland, in charge of external financing, and the Helsinki University of Technology.

The development work on the NExOCTANE technology was started at Fortum’s Technology Centre in Porvoo, Finland in 1997.

Alberta Envirofuels Inc, a Canadian company owned fifty-fifty by Fortum and ChevronTexaco, launched the iso-octane production based on the above technology in Edmonton, Canada in October 2002. The iso-octane plant is the first of its kind in the world.

"The iso-octane markets look promising in the US and in especially in California, where the use of MTBE in gasoline will be banned starting next year. The parties responsible for the technology marketing and the basic design of the licensed units are Neste Engineering Oy, a Fortum company, and the US company Kellogg Brown & Root," says Mr Risto Näsi, Vice President, in charge of Fortum’s component business.

The novel technology is a continuance to the NExETHERS- and NExTAME –etherification technologies previously developed by Fortum.

Iso-octane, produced applying the NExOCTANE-technology, is a valuable component applicable to gasolines meeting even the strictest quality requirements. It is sulphur-free, non-aromatic with a low vapour pressure.

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Posted by Richard Price, Editor

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