Air quality

High-quality Advanced biofuels:

  • result in lower tailpipe emissions in existing vehicles.
  • mean lower local emissions when compared to fossil fuels - contributing to better health.

Advanced biofuels improve air quality by bringing immediate and significant improvement in local air emissions.

Most of our transportation system is powered by fossil fuels. According to WHO, transport is one of the main sources of air pollution. Some 40 million people in the 115 largest cities in the European Union are exposed to air exceeding WHO air quality guideline values for at least one pollutant.

High-quality advanced biofuels have lower tailpipe emissions, for example nitrogen oxides and small particles, and non-regulated emissions like polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Advanced biofuels bring immediate improvements in tailpipe emissions in existing vehicles, most notably in vehicles without sophisticated after-treatment technology.

Advanced biofuels bring immediate improvements in tailpipe emissions in existing vehicles

Neste trialled its NExBTL renewable diesel in 300 buses of 17 different types in Helsinki over a period of three years, some using a 30% blend, and some using 100% renewable diesel. Buses running on 100% renewable diesel did not experience any problems with their engines, even when temperatures dropped to -25oC, and the average reduction of local emission particulates was as high as 30%.


Air Quality and EU Policy

Neste calls for EU biofuels legislation which takes into account also the air quality aspects, and considers fuels and automotive regulation in a joined-up manner. To date, European biofuels policy has largely ignored the impact of biofuels on the automotive industry.

In the past, fuel quality legislation in the EU was always developed to fit the needs of both the fuels and automotive industries: legislation supported the development of engines and efforts made to decrease tailpipe emissions. This longstanding fruitful approach should be reintroduced with a focus on advanced biofuels which do not compromise the quality of fuels.

In order to ensure that fuels are fit-for-purpose and that the automotive industry is able to significantly reduce the emissions from transport, the focus on quality needs to be brought back.