As the world seeks to transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources, the choice of fuel plays a crucial role in achieving these goals. Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) has emerged as a promising alternative to conventional diesel fuel. According to Neste Oil (1) it is “the highest quality diesel in the world.”


How is it Made?

HVO is created from a feedstock of various vegetable oils and animal fats. This feedstock is treated to remove impurities (moisture, particles, etc.). It is then mixed with hydrogen gas and fed through a hydrotreating reactor which creates the HVO fuel. It goes through some additional post-reactor purification steps to remove any remaining impurities like sulfur and nitrogen compounds. For more details you can refer to the Beginners Guide to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil article here (4).


Why is it Important?

HVO is a “drop-in” ready fuel replacement for many diesel engines. This means that HVO can replace diesel fuel in a diesel engine without any modifications or adjustments to the diesel engine. All of mtu’s diesel engines used in their power generation equipment are HVO ready.


Advantages of HVO


  • It is a more stable fuel than diesel – Diesel fuel that is stored in a tank for any length of time (e.g., standby power generation) requires periodic fuel scrubbing to remove algae that grows in the fuel. HVO is not susceptible to this issue and remains stable over long periods of time.


  • Mixes seamlessly with diesel – HVO can be added to existing diesel so existing tanks do not have to be drained prior to topping up with HVO.


  • Lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – One of the significant advantages of HVO over diesel is its potential for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. HVO fuel has a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to conventional diesel. According to studies (2), HVO can achieve up to 90% CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) emissions reduction compared to diesel.


  • Improved air quality – Compared to diesel, HVO offers improved air quality due to its cleaner combustion properties. HVO fuel reduces emissions of harmful pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur oxides (SOx). Dependent on load profiles, a 50% to 80% reduction in particulate matter has been seen.


  • Improved performance – Switching from diesel to HVO can result in improved engine performance and decreased fuel consumption. In addition to this, when used with mtu diesel engines there is no engine derate (3).


Take Action

If you need more convincing before you make this change, Rio Tinto has recently moved to HVO fuel for their large vehicles in their California open pit boron mine (6). Sinead Kaufman, Chief Executive Rio Tinto Minerals said: “We are proud that our U.S. Borax operations have become the first open pit mine to operate a fleet running entirely on renewable diesel. This is an excellent example of what happens when internal and external partners collaborate toward a carbon reduction goal. Support from the state of California has also been incredibly important, as without their vision, this would not have been possible.”

Take action now for your standby diesel generators and get improved performance, decreased fuel consumption, less emissions, and longer fuel life! Contact Collicutt today and we will work with you to evaluate your generator and arrange for HVO fuel delivery.