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Biofuels: Facts & Information on HVO, Biodiesel & More

Biofuels: Facts & Information on HVO Fuel, Biodiesel & More

Biofuels. You’ve probably heard of them before. But what do they actually mean, and what are the advantages of making the move away from fossil fuels for you as a business owner?

HVO fuel, biodiesel and biomass are all relatively new terms but have until recently been surrounded by speculation of whether they are actually better for the environment. But first-generation biofuels have been created and improved on to produce more consistent fuels, such as HVO, for use across a wide range of industries and applications.

If you’re interested in ensuring a cleaner, greener future for your operations, now is the perfect time to make the switch.

Allow us to explain.


What are biofuels?

Let’s get the science out of the way first.

First of all, biofuel is a catch-all term for fuels made out of renewable, biodegradable sources. In fact, you can produce them from pretty much any living matter – vegetable oil, animal fats, waste crop material, alcohol, algae – if it can biodegrade, science can turn it into fuel! So unlike fossil fuels which derive from beneath the earth’s surface over millions of years, biofuels are man-made so release significantly fewer harmful emissions.

Biofuels were created to tackle the fast reduction of fossil fuel stocks and the problems of climate change. As every biofuel is different, each is used for different purposes. Some are made to function just like a more environmentally-friendly alternative to regular diesel fuel (biodiesel), whereas some are used as a replacement for home heating oil such as kerosene.

What are biofuels made from?

During the start of biofuel production, there was very little known about first-generation biofuels regarding their use. These fuels are generally less efficient, practical and reliable than more recent second and third generations.


First-generation biofuels were produced from vegetable oil and food crops but these early fuels never made it into mass production due to their drawbacks of using land for farming crops and the problems caused on engines. First-generation biofuels, however, helped pave the way for improved research, production and wider use of materials needed for second and third-generation biofuels.

Second generation

Second-generation biofuels, such as HVO fuel, tackle the issues of using up much-needed crops and oils and instead focuses on the waste aspect of crops instead of oils which could be instead utilised first.

Third generation

Third generation biofuels are no more advanced than the second generation, they just instead use algae in their production so are identified as a separate biofuel. Using algae for biofuels means that crops don’t need to be grown especially for producing fuels, freeing up farmland and improving food growth for consumption.

The advantages of biofuels

  • Clean – With a 70% reduction of carbon monoxide emissions compared to standard petroleum-based fuels and a virtually sulphur-free composition, biofuels are as clean as fuel gets
  • Odourless – If you don’t enjoy the idea of your workplace smelling like an oil refinery, you’ll be glad to know that biofuels are completely free of any aromatic content
  • Non-toxic and biodegradable – Unlike petroleum-based fuels, biofuels don’t present a major hazard to humans or the environment if spilt. In fact, most biofuels will fully degrade from a waterway environment within 28 days
  • Safer – Biofuels have a much higher flash point than mineral diesel, significantly decreasing the likelihood of a fire hazard
  • Renewable – The world will never run out of biofuel stocks
  • Better for your equipment – Fuel that doesn’t leave behind unwanted contaminants causes less long-term damage to your equipment
  • Increased shelf life – biofuels are less susceptible to contamination and have a prolonged shelf life compared to fossil fuels

The main types of biofuels

HVO fuel

HVO fuel is leading the way to a greener future and is predicated to replace all FAME and fossil diesel fuels. LONDON (ICIS) says the growth of HVO fuel will result in a decrease in traditional biodiesel demand and production. It’s a form of biofuel created from waste vegetable oils and fats and is considered a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable fuel than other crop biofuels.


Biodiesel is one of the most popular biofuels in Europe and is widely used in transport and public transport sectors. Many modern vehicles now use blends of biodiesel amongst regular diesel.


Bioethanol works well at high altitudes. It’s easy to produce but can be corrosive to fuel tanks and seals within the engine and is less efficient than other biofuels.


As its name implies, biogas is a gas unlike most other biofuels and tends to be in liquid form. It’s produced through anaerobic decomposition of a range of organic matter from waste food, food crops and even manure. It’s produced mainly from methane and CO2 which brings several drawbacks due to methane’s capability to hold more heat than CO2.

Ready to switch to biofuel?

Now you have the facts, all you need to do is make the move towards a greener and cleaner future.

If you’d like to make the switch to biofuel, take a look at our HVO Fuel and CHP Biofuel product pages to see what we have to offer and how we can help your business.

We can provide you with all of the expert advice and guidance you need to make a smooth, stress-free transition to a greener future.

If you’d like to learn more or to place an order, call our fuel experts today on 0330 678 0880.

* Nationwide Fuels HVO fuel complies with BS EN 15940 being the British Standard for paraffinic diesel fuel which is a new generation of cleaner transport fuel for use in road vehicles. If your vehicle is still within the manufacturer`s warranty or if you have taken out mechanical breakdown insurance, we recommend you check with the manufacturer or insurer that use of our product will not affect your cover. We cannot be held responsible for any issues with your vehicle connected to its age or pre-existing condition.

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