US engineering conglomerate Honeywell has introduced a single-stage renewable diesel production process.

The new UOP Ecofining technology produces Honeywell Green Diesel, which the company said was chemically identical to petroleum-based diesel and could be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles without modification.

It also featured up to an 80% lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with diesel made from petroleum, the company said.

The new process uses a combination of catalysts in a single unit to clean and remove oxygenates and other contaminants from the feedstock, and then isomerise the feed to improve its cold-flow properties.

“Interest in renewable fuels production continues to grow as customers work to meet sustainability goals and find new uses for existing assets,” said Honeywell Sustainable Technology Solutions vice president and general manager Ben Owens.

“The new single-stage Ecofining process can help a refiner meet stricter regulations for sustainable fuels production with significant revenue advantages and minimal equipment and space requirements.”

The single-stage process was designed to expand into a full two-stage Ecofining process in the future. Two-stage designs can process feedstocks, including used cooking oils and animal fats, and produce renewable jet fuel. The technology is suitable for refinery revamps where an additional reactor is available, or may be added, for green feed processing.

Honeywell UOP jointly developed the Ecofining process, which converts non-edible natural oils and animal fats to Honeywell Green Diesel, with Italy’s Eni SpA.

The UOP Ecofining process was currently in use in 20 units in nine countries around the world, processing 12 different types of renewable feedstocks, the company said.