Common Questions and Answers About HVO Fuel

HVO fuel is a synthetic diesel that can help the UK achieve its 2050 net-zero target for greenhouse gas emissions. At Beesley Fuels, we supply HVO to a wide range of businesses including those in the transport, agriculture and power generation industries to help them lessen their environmental impact. How does HVO reduce greenhouse gas emissions? This and other common questions are answered below.

What is HVO fuel?

HVO, or hydrotreated vegetable oil, is a paraffinic second-generation sustainable and renewable diesel fuel. It’s produced from completely renewable raw materials such as waste animal fats and vegetable oils. In addition, HVO is 100% hydrocarbon (0% oxygen) allowing it to be used and handled as a drop-in alternative to fossil diesel.

Its clean-burning properties cut particulate production, helping to prolong its lifetime in storage and improve engine cleanliness. The lack of fossil carbon within the product results in a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable HVO fuel

What is the production process for HVO?

HVO is produced through a highly controlled hydrotreatment process of renewable materials to form a high-quality paraffinic product that’s almost chemically identical to fossil diesel, but with several added benefits.

The production process removes impurities and the main factors that cause fuel degradation, increasing its shelf life to up to 10 years – provided safe storage and a well-maintained tank.

The modern hydrotreatment process results in:

  • A more efficient burn than regular diesel and biodiesel
  • Cleaner combustion
  • Reduced soot in engines and exhaust systems
  • Aromatic, sulphur and metal-free
  • Up to a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions

What can HVO be used as an alternative for?

HVO is a direct drop-in diesel alternative. It meets the EN15940 standard, ASTM D975 and conforms to the Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II and has been approved by a large number of automotive manufacturers. And with a large number of OEM approvals, it can be used in a wide range of modern diesel engines, off-road machinery and generators without voiding warranties.

Ease of use is a primary concern when considering any new fuel and to make the switch to HVO fuel you don’t need to modify existing engines, machinery, logistics channels and storage equipment, you can just fill up your tank on top of existing stocks.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions2

What is HVO fuel commonly used for?

HVO fuel is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its green and logistical benefits – particularly as it reduces net-zero carbon emissions by up to 90% and hugely reduces NOx, PM and CO emissions

HVO is commonly used in:

  • Portable generators at events, festivals and film productions
  • Commercial boilers
  • Agricultural tractors and machinery
  • Boats and vessels operating within inland waterways

What is FAME?

As a first-generation biofuel, FAME diesel is more at risk from problems in cold weather, as well as cold filter plugging and water and biological attack – all of which lead to higher incidences of diesel contamination and tank corrosion. What’s more, it produces a significant amount of NOx and particulate emissions which are harmful to the environment and public health.

As governments try to tackle CO2 emissions, they are increasing the proportion of 1st generation biodiesel added to this fuel. This means that all of the problems highlighted above will become more prevalent and users of diesel fuel may experience issues. HVO fuel meets the governmental bio requirements without the need for FAME addition, therefore maintaining trouble-free operation for the user.

Why choose HVO over diesel and biodiesel?

To help tackle the environmental and logistical problems associated with fossil fuels, second-generation biofuels – like HVO – have been developed to overcome the hurdles of their first-generation counterparts.

HVO fuel is an environmentally-friendly alternative to regular FAME diesel and biodiesel, but with up to a 10-year shelf life as opposed to around 1 year for diesel.

Though similar to regular diesel in terms of energy content, density, viscosity and flash point, HVO presents many benefits over white diesel, such as:

  • A significant particulate matter (PM) reduction
  • Cleaner burn reduces greenhouse gas emissions and makes it suitable for use in “clean air zones”
  • Superior cold temperature performance means better cold start properties in winter
  • Higher cetane number (up to 90) compared to 50 for mineral diesel plus zero sulphur and aromatics
  • Better combustion, filterability and cold temperature resistance than other diesel products

This all results in a greatly extended lifespan of up to 10 years compared to 1 for mineral diesel, easier maintenance for storing HVO and a clean-burning fuel which will help reduce your carbon footprint.

10 year shelf life

What does HVO’s specification look like?

Parameter Units Test Method Specification Typical Value
Appearance ASTM D4176-2 Clear and bright Clear and bright
Density at 15oC kg/m3 EN ISO 12185 0.770 – 0.790 0.780
Viscosity at 40oC mm2/s EN ISO 3104 2.0 – 4.0 2.8
Sulphur Content mg/kg EN ISO 20884 5 maximum <5
Flash point oC EN ISO 2719 61 minimum >70
Cloud point

– Summer

– Winter

oC EN 23015 15 maximum -34 maximum < -15 < -34

– Summer

– Winter

oC EN116 -15 maximum -34 maximum < -15 < -34
Water Content mg/kg EN ISO 12937 200 maximum 40
Ash Content % m/m EN ISO 6245 0.001 maximum <0.001
Initial Boiling Point oC EN ISO 3405 180 minimum >180
Recovered at 250oC % v/v EN ISO 3405 <65 <20
Recovered at 350oC % v/v EN ISO 3405 85 minimum >98
95% recovered at oC EN ISO 3405 360 maximum >95
Cetane Number EN 15195 70 minimum 80
Cetane Index EN ISO 4264 70 minimum 80
CFPP oC EN 116 -15 to -34 *
Carbon Residue (on 10% distillation residue) % m/m EN ISO 10370 0.1 maximum <0.01
Oxidation Stability g/m3 EN ISO 12205 25 maximum <5
Copper Strip Corrosion 3hr/50oC EN ISO 2160 1 maximum 1a
Net Heat of Combustion MJ/kg ASTM D4809 42 minimum 44
Particulate Matter mg/kg EN 12662 10 maximum <1
Lubricity/HFRR μm EN ISO 12156-1 400 maximum 350
Renewable Diesel % v/v 100 100
Fatty Acid Methyl Ester % v/v 0 0
Total Aromatics % m/m EN 12916 1 maximum <1
Polycyclic Aromatics (PAH) % v/v SS 155116 0.02 maximum <0.02

How efficient is HVO?

HVO has a relatively high cetane number (greater than 70) than fossil diesel (around 51), which means that it’s an extremely efficient fuel. The cetane number refers to how well the fuel burns in the combustion chamber. So a higher cetane number means that the fuel will ignite faster, resulting in improved engine performance and reduced levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Can HVO be used in boats?

Many sailors currently use red diesel or white diesel in their vessel, however, both fuels can cause contamination and engine problems. Since FAME is present in fossil diesel, this accelerates the rate at which diesel bug grows which can block filters, wear injectors, corrode tanks and cause engine failure, especially in wet environments. HVO has none of these problems thanks to its highly controlled production process and has been approved by many marine manufacturers such as VolvoPenta.

Can HVO be used as heating oil?

Yes, many of our customers are replacing their industrial heating oil (IHO) for HVO fuel to reap the benefits of cleaner combustion and reduced emissions. To find out if your boiler is compatible with HVO, get in touch today on 0330 123 1144.

Can you mix HVO fuel and diesel?

HVO fuel is fully miscible with mineral diesel. This means you can mix the two fuels together and top up your current diesel stocks with HVO straight away. Please note, some of the benefits of HVO may be lost due to mineral diesel’s properties. Therefore, when feasible, we suggest you start your HVO journey with a clean tank to ensure its long lifespan and high-quality features.

What are the advantages of second-generation biofuels?

Second-generation biofuels tackle the operational and performance problems of conventional diesel and earlier generation biofuels:

  • Uphold/improve net CO2 emission profile of regular biofuels
  • Offer end-use quality compared to existing sulphur-free fossil fuels
  • Compatible with existing infrastructure, vehicle and plant technology
  • Don’t react with water and therefore are not eaten by diesel bug
  • Adhere to bio content requirements due to zero FAME content
  • Continue to be mobile and filterable down to temperatures below -32 degrees Celsius
  • Offer superior environmental credentials available from liquid fuels
  • Exceed lubricity requirements of EN 590 and ASTM D975
  •  Compatible with fossil fuels and supply chain
  • Enhance emission profile from E590 optimised engines and offer a forum for further development of CN engines

Will HVO fuel harm engines?

No, HVO fuel can be used in almost all diesel engines with little or no modification required, including:

  • FPT
  • MTU
  • FORD
  • Daimler

What is the price of HVO?

HVO fuel is a premium fuel so its upfront cost is a little higher than mineral diesel, however, the long-term cost benefits far outweigh the initial outlay. The hydrotreatment production process removes all impurities from the fuel which significantly increases its lifespan in storage to around 10 years, considering good maintenance and storage. You will still need to regularly check your fuel; however, the risk of contamination and therefore costly fuel replacements is greatly reduced.

Are there bulk quantities of HVO fuel available?

Previously, HVO fuel has been hard to obtain in bulk, however, Beesley Fuels have invested in an industrial-sized stock of the renewable fuel to help businesses in the UK reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to achieving the government’s 2050 target.

Where can I buy HVO fuel?

Beesley Fuels can supply HVO fuel directly to your site, in whatever quantity you require – from bulk 36,000 litres to single IBC supplies. To learn more about the environmentally-friendly, fossil-free diesel alternative, get in touch on 0330 123 1144 to start reducing your emissions today.

* Beesley 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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