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What is HVO Fuel? An FAQ

Looking to learn more about HVO fuel, the low-emission alternative to regular diesel? Read our FAQ for an insight into its source, features and usage. You can also request a quote by calling 0330 678 0880.

HVO Fuel: Questions and Answers

HVO fuel is an emerging synthetic diesel that’s being utilised by many organisations across many industries for its wealth of benefits.  It’s also significantly kinder to our environment and our engines than mineral or fossil diesel.

Glastonbury Festival has taken the bold move to run its entire production on HVO in a bid to substantially reduce its environmental impact, and hopes that other enterprises will follow its lead.

Looking further afield, Sweden, Finland and several other European countries have already made HVO available at petrol stations. Finland even introduced excise duty fuel relief to encourage adoption, which has been a huge success.

HVO is ushering in a new era of fuels and is key in helping the UK achieve its 2050 net-zero carbon target. But what exactly is it and how true are the claims about its green credentials? We’ve put together an in-depth look at the renewable diesel to demonstrate why every business needs to switch their fossil diesel to HVO.

HVO fuel

What is HVO fuel?

HVO stands for hydrotreated vegetable oil and is a paraffinic diesel fuel. Because it meets EN 15940 standards and Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II, it can be used as a direct drop-in alternative for diesel with little or no modification needed to your engines.

HVO is stable, renewable, sustainable and high-quality, and therefore offers better combustion, filterability and cold temperature performance than fossil diesel, whilst significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions on combustion.

What is HVO 100?

You might see or hear HVO referred to as HVO 100 which simply means that it’s a completely pure fuel, made from 100% renewable and sustainable materials. At Nationwide Fuels, we only sell 100% pure HVO. We don’t blend HVO into fossil or FAME diesels as we want to ensure that our customers receive the maximum benefit from their fuel, and so should use it in its purest form.

How is HVO made?

HVO is produced through the hydrotreatment of completely renewable materials which can be sustainably regrown when stock is needed. These crops therefore avoid damage to the environment whilst limiting the amount of “new” carbon being released into the atmosphere.

Through a two-stage process, feedstocks are saturated with hydrogen at high temperatures over 300 degrees Celsius (hydrotreatment) and are then cracked to remove any impurities from the fuel (isomerisation).

This leaves a consistent and high-quality fuel that contains no esters or contaminants which stop its performance being affected at both the point of use and when in storage.

Due to HVO’s unique production process, it resists diesel bug attack, allowing it to be left in storage for prolonged periods and makes it one of the cleanest and purest fuels on the market.

What is paraffinic diesel?

HVO is part of the paraffinic diesel fuel family. These are high-quality, synthesised clean liquid fuels, with low aromatic and naphthenic hydrocarbon and zero sulphur content, which makes them extremely pure fuels.

What is the difference between HVO and biodiesel/diesel? HVO vs diesel

In practical terms, HVO is pretty much the same as diesel with regards to energy content, density, flash point and viscosity; however, HVO boasts many advantages over regular diesel thanks to its innovative production process. This ensures a consistent product which contains zero esters, which means HVO will not degrade at the point of use or after being in storage.

HVO has a paraffinic petrochemical structure which means that functionally it’s almost identical to fossil diesel, so it can be used and handled as a drop-in alternative without needing to alter infrastructure or empty your fuel tanks of existing stocks.

The legislative requirement for biological or “bio” content in fossil fuels undergoes regular increases, as does the FAME content, which causes several logistical problems for users.

However, while HVO meets legal requirements and is 100% biological in origin, it’s completely free from FAME which avoids the stability issues that biodiesel, gas oil and diesel products face. HVO is therefore less at risk from contamination which means it can be stored for up to 10 years, so long as good storage and tank maintenance are ensured – compared to around a 1 year shelf life for regular diesel.

Another benefit HVO has over diesel is due to its high cetane number (greater than 70) and low cloud point (-32 degrees Celsius) which provides improved cold-start properties, clean combustion and a reduced risk of gelling during extreme cold temperatures.

Regular gas oil comes in 2 grades (winter and summer) so it needs changing before both seasons to ensure engines and equipment avoid breakages and costly repairs. Read more on this here.

Does HVO reduce emissions?

HVO is manufactured from waste renewable materials, such as vegetable oils, using a high-quality hydrotreatment process which leaves an extremely pure fuel.

This means that running your engines, equipment and vehicles with HVO fuel reduces CO2 emissions by up to 90%, NOx emissions by up to 27% and PM emissions by up to 84%, all of which are key factors to achieving improved air quality.

What is HVO used for?

HVO is a drop-in alternative to regular diesel – so almost any engine, piece of equipment or vehicle that can run on white or red diesel, can run on HVO! It’s been approved by a large number of OEMs and engine manufacturers and is in use in many industries including events and production, construction and agriculture. Common examples include:

  • Static & portable generators
  • Commercial boilers
  • Construction equipment and machinery
  • Industrial trucks and tankers
  • Agricultural tractors and machinery
  • Boats and vessels operating within inland waterways

Can my vehicle run on HVO fuel?

HVO fuel adheres to EN15940 standard for paraffinic fuels and has been approved by a large number of major OEMs. This means your warranties won’t be voided and allows you to use HVO in diesel engines of these manufacturers without making adjustments to your vehicle’s engines or their peripherals.

Heavy-duty road vehicles Passenger cars Non-road vehicles
DAF Mercedes-Benz John Deere
Scania DS Automobiles Agco
Volvo Citroen Caterpillar
MAN Volvo Steyr
Mercedes-Benz Renault Scania
Renault Peugeot
Iveco

Can I mix HVO fuel and diesel?

Yes, HVO fuel can be put into your existing diesel stocks and it will run perfectly well in your engines and machinery. However, in doing this HVO could limit attributes such as its extended shelf life due to diesel’s FAME content. We recommend that when making the switch to HVO you start afresh and run your operations on solely HVO enabling you to reap the full benefits.

How long can you store HVO for?

HVO fuel contains no impurities, FAME or sulphur so it boasts a significantly longer shelf life than regular diesel. That’s one of the many reasons why so many organisations are switching their diesel stocks for HVO. It can be stored for up to 10 years, whereas diesel requires much more regular testing and can be stored for up to just 1 year.

What are the benefits of using HVO fuel?

  • 100% biodegradable, renewable, sustainable, pure hydrocarbon
  • High cetane number offers year-round performance
  • Hydrotreated production process removes impurities which means less fuel maintenance and safer handling
  • Approved by a large number of OEMs
  • HFRR lubricity of approximately 350 microns represents best in class compared to EN590 diesel
  • Drop-in diesel alternative
  • Zero FAME, fossil and sulphur content thanks to its burn properties which reduce particulate production
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%
  • Increases your business’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

How much does HVO cost?

Nationwide Fuels is one of the UK’s leading fuel suppliers and benefits from vast buying power, which allows us to pass on savings to our customers. As one of the only UK suppliers with an industrial-sized stock of HVO, we can offer you a competitive price per litre.

Where can I buy HVO fuel from?

Get in touch with Nationwide Fuels today and call 0330 678 0880. We have HVO stored onsite at our oil depots across the country which means we can ensure your delivery reaches you in no time. Our standard delivery times are up to 48 hours – but if you need your HVO supply sooner, you can take advantage of our emergency delivery service where we can have it with you on the very same day.

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