Outotec says it and Neste have jointly verified the viability of applying a bio-based diluent as a new solution for metals extraction.
Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane™ is a fully bio-based diluent for extracting metals in hydrometallurgical processes, Ouotec said, explaining that the diluent is based on Neste’s NEXBTL technology and produced entirely from bio-based waste and residue raw materials.
Laboratory studies and pilot trials at the Outotec Research Center in Pori, Finland, and Neste’s Technology Center in Porvoo, Finland, have confirmed the high-level performance of the product for solvent extraction of copper, and it can be also used for other base metals, according to Outotec.
“Thanks to its renewable origins and being readily biodegradable, the bio-based diluent reduces environmental risk and has a remarkably smaller carbon footprint over its life cycle when compared to fossil equivalents,” Outotec said. Moreover, Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane evaporates at a lower rate, which improves copper extraction efficiency and safety due to significantly reduced volatile organic compounds, the company added.
Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane is fully compatible with conventional fossil diluents at solvent extraction plants, and can be introduced into the extraction process without any downtime, Outotec said.
Kari Knuutila, Chief Technology Officer at Outotec, said: “This cooperation with Neste is part of our continuous innovation efforts of improving the environmental performance of our technologies and helping our customers to meet their sustainability goals. In this project, experts from two industries discovered synergies and co-created a new application for Neste’s bio-based product.”
Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste, said: “Using Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane as a replacement to fossil diluents provides significant ecological benefits, while simultaneously improving the efficiency, economy and safety of metals extraction processes.”
Outotec and Neste have agreed to cooperate in introducing the Neste MY Renewable Isoalkane to metal producers. Outotec will provide technical industry expertise, whereas Neste will be responsible for the production, sales and deliveries of the bio-based diluent to the solvent extraction sites globally.