HVO Fuel FAQ

Questions & Answers on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil

HVO fuel is a relatively new fuel to the UK market, yet it’s already leading the way to a cleaner and greener future for many industries. Top tier festivals like Glastonbury, headline acts including The 1975 and many other heavyweights have recently announced that their entire production is going to run solely on the green fuel. But what exactly is HVO and why are so many organisations switching from diesel?

Read our HVO Fuel FAQ for an easy-to-digest yet detailed insight.

What is HVO fuel?

HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) is a renewable diesel alternative and is one of the world’s cleanest fuels on the market. As a second-generation premium biofuel, it eliminates up to 90% of net greenhouse gas emissions (such as CO2) and hugely reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx) particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.

HVO meets EN 15940 regulatory standards and Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II, so it can be used as a drop-in alternative to mineral diesel with little or no modifications needed to your infrastructure.

As part of the paraffinic family of fuels, HVO has low aromatic and naphthenic hydrocarbon content and no sulphur content, meaning it is also an extremely pure diesel fuel.

How is HVO made?

HVO is produced from renewable materials such as vegetable oils and animal fats. These oils are treated through a high-quality specialist hydrotreatment process to create high-quality paraffinic fuel that’s almost chemically identical to fossil derv. This removes any esters and contamination which affect diesel performance and allows it to be stored for up to 10 years. That’s because it:

  • doesn’t react with water or oxygen
  • avoids sludge build-up and resists diesel bug attack
  • ensures its performance remains unaffected at both the point of use and after extended storage

Through significantly improved efficiency, HVO reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions when powering diesel vehicles and machinery.

What is the difference between diesel and HVO?

HVO has a paraffinic structure which makes it pretty much identical to fossil diesel. This allows it to be used as a drop-in alternative with little or no infrastructure modifications needed.

Both HVO and diesel are similar in terms of density, viscosity, energy content and flash point; however, HVO has many operational and environmental benefits.

HVO meets current legislation; it’s 100% bio and is FAME and sulphur-free which means it doesn’t suffer from the stability issues mineral diesel and biodiesel face. This allows HVO to be left in storage for up to 10 years, ensuring good storage and maintenance, whereas regular diesel has a short shelf life of around 1 year.

What’s more, its low cloud point of -32 degrees Celsius provides improved cold-start performance, clean combustion and a reduced chance of gelling in severe cold temperatures compared to mineral diesel.

hvo fuel

Is HVO an efficient fuel?

HVO has a greater cetane number than diesel (70+) making it an extremely efficient fuel. The cetane number denotes how well a fuel burns in the combustion chamber; the higher the number, the faster it ignites, resulting in improved engine performance and reduced GHG emissions.

Does HVO reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Characteristic Diesel FAME HVO Fuel
BIO Content 0 100 100
Oxygen Level 0 11 0
Sulphur Content <10 <1 <1
Specific Gravity 0.84 0.88 0.78
Distillation Level C 200 – 300 340 – 355 200 – 320
Cetane Level 51 50 – 65 70 – 90
Stability from Oxidation Average Poor Excellent

What are the advantages of HVO fuel?

The benefits of HVO are plentiful, including:

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90%
  • Adheres to EN 15940:2016
  • 100% renewable, biodegradable and non-toxic
  • Improves your environmental and corporate social responsibility
  • Extended storage life of up to 10 years with less need for regular testing
  • Year-round performance; excellent cold weather properties
  • Zero FAME, sulphur and fossil content
  • 100% bio and 100% hydrocarbon, so meets increasing bio legislative requirements
  • Reduced particulate production during combustion reduces ageing of engine oils

What is HVO fuel used for?

HVO is a renewable diesel that can be used as a drop-in alternative in a wide range of engines, machinery and equipment without voiding warranties as it’s been approved by a large number of OEMs.

Heavy Duty Road Vehicles Passenger Cars Non-road Use
DAF Citroen Caterpillar
Scania DS Agco Power
Renault Mercedes-Benz (Nordic) Deere
MAN Volvo Scania
Iveco Renault MTU
Daimler Peugeot Steyr
Volvo   Deutz

HVO is commonly used in a wide range of industries as a green diesel alternative to power their operations whilst reducing their environmental footprint, such as film, construction, data centres and public transport:

  • Portable generators
  • Commercial boilers
  • Industrial trucks and tankers
  • Tractors and machinery
  • Construction machinery
  • Boats and vessels on inland waterways

Glastonbury, The 1975 and a large number of UK events are already relying on HVO to improve their environmental and corporate social responsibility.

Can HVO fuel be used in heating?

Yes, lots of our customers are swapping industrial heating oil for HVO to significantly reduce their environmental impact. Wondering if your commercial boiler is compatible with HVO? Get in touch to find out!

Is HVO in use in Sweden?

HVO has been available at the pump in Finland, Sweden and other European countries for a considerable amount of time. In the UK, the biggest challenge has been the adoption rate as HVO is relatively new to the market, so fuel users are reluctant to try a new fuel. However, Sweden saw its potential and introduced excise duty relief to help drive adoption rates and this is now being phased out as the market has expanded to the point where it’s self-sustaining. This is something the UK should consider to encourage green fuels to help tackle the effects of climate change.

Can you mix HVO and diesel?

HVO is fully miscible with regular diesel so you can top up your existing stocks. However, some of the benefits of HVO may be compromised due to mineral diesel’s properties. Therefore, it’s best to begin your HVO journey with a clean tank to ensure its extended lifespan and quality features.

Where can I buy HVO fuel?

HVO is not yet available at fuel stations like in some European countries, however, Speedy Fuels is one of the only UK suppliers who can deliver it directly to your site in any quantity you require, including bulk amounts up to 36,000 and more.

Speedy Fuels can supply HVO fuel wherever you are in the UK and whenever you need it, with 92% of orders delivered within 24 hours. To go fossil-free and reduce your operational footprint, call us today on 0330 123 5665.

* Speedy 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.