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Finnish oil refining and renewable diesel producer Neste has welcomed the German government's proposal to approve the sale of 100% synthetic fuels and renewable diesel at fuel stations.

“So far, the sales of synthetic fuels, such as e-fuels and renewable diesel (also known as hydrotreated vegetable oil or HVO) in Germany have been largely limited to fuel blends in which these fuels have represented about a 26% maximum content,” the company said on 2 March.

“The sales of unblended 100% renewable diesel has previously only been allowed in specific segments, such as in non-road vehicles and public transportation.”

"We are very pleased that the German government plans to approve synthetic fuels, allowing 100% renewable diesel to be sold at all fuel station,” said Peter Zonneveld, vice president of sales, Europe and Asia-Pacific, at Neste. “This means that in the near future, privately-operated vehicle fleets and consumers will be able to use this product and instantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

Neste produces renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuel and renewable chemicals from waste and residue raw materials, including used cooking oil, at its refineries in Porvoo, Finland, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Singapore, according to its 2022 annual report. Its current annual nameplate capacity is approximately 3.3M tonnes, expected to rise to 5.5M tonnes by the end of this year through its Singapore refinery expansion and joint operation with Marathon Petroleum in Martinez, California. Its Rotterdam refinery capacity expansion project is further expected to increase total production capacity to 6.8M tonnes by the end of 2026.

The German proposal was set out by Federal Minister of Transport Dr Volker Wissing, who said on 3 March that Germany would not agree to a landmark EU law to end sales of CO2-emitting cars in 2035 unless sales of new cars with internal combustion engines be allowed after that date if they run on e-fuels, according to a 7 March Reuters report.

E-fuels are made by synthesising captured CO2 emissions and hydrogen produced using renewable or CO2-free electricity.