HVO Fuel FAQ: Everything There is to Know About the FAME-Free Fuel
HVO fuel is a relatively new paraffinic diesel fuel to the UK market and is already breaking the ground in helping businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%.
The road transport and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) industries are facing a number of challenges due to climate change, localised emission control and immature or outdated technologies. HVO fuel solves these issues, being used by many industries in off-road and on-road vehicles and industrial machinery. It’s virtually the same fuel as mineral diesel but has a large number of logistical and environmental benefits.
To help answer any questions, we’ve put together a FAQ to help anybody considering buying HVO fuel from Crown Oil to better understand its uses – we’re one of the first UK suppliers after all.
Table of Contents:
- What is paraffinic diesel?
- What is HVO fuel?
- Are paraffinic diesel fuels like HVO fuel better than traditional fuels?
- How is renewable diesel made?
- What is FAME diesel?
- What is the difference between FAME diesel and HVO fuel?
- Does HVO fuel really reduce harmful emissions?
- What are the advantages of second-generation renewable fuels?
- What is the cetane number of diesel?
- What is HVO fuel used for?
- What are the benefits of Crown HVO fuel?
- Can my vehicle run on pure HVO fuel?
- Can you mix HVO fuel and diesel?
- What additional infrastructure is needed for HVO fuel?
- Can fossil free HVO fuel cause engine problems?
- How long can you store HVO fuel for?
- Is HVO fuel toxic?
- Is HVO fuel already in use in Sweden?
- How long will HVO fuel take to arrive?
- What is the price of HVO fuel?
- Who can buy HVO fuel?
- Where can I get HVO fuel?
- HVO fuel or electric vehicles? Which is better for the environment?
Q: What is paraffinic diesel?
A: Paraffinic diesels are high-quality, synthetic clean liquid fuels. Crown HVO fuel is part of the paraffinic family of fuels which are characterised by having low aromatic and naphthenic hydrocarbon content and zero sulphur, which makes them extremely pure fuels.
HVO is synthesised from vegetable oils or animal fats using a specialist hydrotreatment process and its purity allows it to significantly reduce harmful emissions when used in diesel vehicles and machinery through much-improved burning efficiency.
Q: What is HVO fuel?
A: HVO fuel is one of the cleanest fuels on the market. It’s a second-generation, synthetic, advanced renewable diesel alternative that eliminates up to 90% of net CO2 and significantly reduces nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions.
As a paraffinic, renewable fuel, HVO can be used as a drop-in alternative to fossil diesel, meeting EN 15940 standards and Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II. There’s no need to modify existing infrastructure – you can simply top up and go.HVO fuel spec:
|Parameter||Units||Test Method||Specification||Typical Value|
|Appearance||-||ASTM D4176-2||Clear and bright||Clear and bright|
|Density at 15°C||kg/m3||EN ISO 12185||0.770 - 0.790||0.780|
|Viscosity at 40°C||mm2/s||EN ISO 3104||2.0 - 4.0||2.8|
|Sulphur Content||mg/kg||EN ISO 20884||5 maximum||<5|
|Flash point||°C||EN ISO 2719||61 minimum||>70|
|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||°C||EN ISO 3405||180 minimum||>180|
|Recovered at 250°C||% v/v||EN ISO 3405||<65||<20|
|Recovered at 350°C||% v/v||EN ISO 3405||85 minimum||>98|
|95% recovered at||°C||EN ISO 3405||360 maximum||>95|
|Cetane Number||-||EN 15195||70 minimum||80|
|Cetane Index||-||EN ISO 4264||70 minimum||80|
|CFPP||°C||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/50°C||-||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|
Q: Are paraffinic diesel fuels like HVO fuel better than traditional fuels?
A: With the growing drive to tackle the root causes of climate change, both public and private sectors are under huge pressure to reduce their environmental impact. We’re passionate about providing sustainable alternatives and we believe Crown HVO fuel is invaluable in doing so, thanks to its plethora of green and operational benefits which we discuss below.
HVO fuel is significantly better for the environment compared to mineral diesel and is therefore key in helping the UK achieve its net-zero carbon target.
Q: How is renewable diesel made?
A: Hydrotreating vegetable oils is a modern way to produce high-quality diesel fuels from completely renewable materials which can be regrown when stock is needed. The crops that are used to produce HVO fuel bypass damage to the environment, the natural ecosystem and the drive for global deforestation.
There are several methods for the creation of renewable fuels, such as transesterification or fermentation. HVO is made through a two-stage process known as hydrotreatment, where feedstocks are saturated with hydrogen at high temperatures (over 300oC), followed by a stage of isomerisation/cracking to give the end product the desired fuel qualities.
The highly controlled HVO fuel production process ensures a consistent and high-quality product. HVO does not contain any esters or contamination which avoids its performance being affected either at the point of use or after extended storage. Therefore, it does not react with water or oxygen or form sludge whilst in storage. It also resists attack by "diesel bug", allowing it to be stored for extended periods of time.
Growth and reuse cycle
HVO is produced from waste streams, plant and animal matter. Plants are grown and oils are taken away and used for their main purpose, recollected and then converted into HVO. When HVO is burnt, any CO2 that is released is then sequestered back into a plant on the next regrowth cycle. This closed loop ensures there is no net CO2 increase.
Q: What is FAME diesel?
A: First-generation biodiesel, sometimes called FAME or UCOMe (used cooking oil methyl ester) is produced by esterifying a natural oil or fat (vegetable oil or animal fat) with methanol to produce biodiesel and glycerol. Once the glycerol is removed from the biodiesel, it’s then added to all road transport diesel in order to meet the UK Government’s Road Fuel Transport Obligation (RTFO).
The ester bond present within biodiesel (FAME and UCOMe) is weak and can be attacked by water, oxygen and diesel bug which produces sludge when stored. The properties of biodiesel are a function of the raw materials used and therefore vary across producers and batches.
In an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels the amount of first-generation biodiesel which is aged to fuels is being increased year-on-year by governments. This is leading to increased issues with fuel storage and operational performance, such as cold temperature flow and filter plugging. If used as a 100% fuel, first-generation biodiesel may also be more damaging to the environment as it can increase particulate and NOx emissions.
HVO fuel fully meets the RTFO and therefore can be used as a 100% fuel with no addition of first-generation biodiesel, removing all the operational problems that can happen when using this type of fuel.
Q: What is the difference between FAME diesel and HVO fuel?
A: When it comes to knowing the difference between HVO renewable diesel and traditional biodiesel, the differences may seem subtle but are quite different.
With its paraffinic petrochemical structure, HVO is functionally almost identical to fossil diesel and can, therefore, be used and handled as a drop-in alternative to fossil diesel without needing to amend infrastructure or clean out existing stock. However, while similar to regular diesel in terms of energy content, density, viscosity and flash point, HVO fuel has a number of advantages over fossil fuels.
The chemical process used to manufacture HVO fuel ensures a consistent product that contains no esters or contamination; factors which can adversely affect the performance of the fuel both at the point of use or after extended storage.
As the legislative requirement for “bio” content in fuel increases, the FAME content in fossil fuels will also increase. HVO fuel meets the requirements of current legislation - it’s 100% bio and FAME-free, so it doesn’t face the issues of stability faced by many existing biodiesel and gas oil products.
This makes HVO a much more stable product than mineral diesel with a reduced risk of degradation when in storage due to zero FAME and sulphur content. The production process affords a shelf life of up to ten years, providing good storage and maintenance, as opposed to the comparatively short 1-year shelf life of mineral diesel.
With a high cetane number of greater than 70 and low cloud point of -32oC, HVO provides improved cold start performance, clean combustion and less chance of waxing in extreme temperatures than regular DERV.
Q: Does HVO fuel really reduce harmful emissions?
A: To demonstrate the reduction of emissions from using Crown HVO fuel, we enlisted fully independent test centre, Applied Emissions, to compare the chemical output of both fuels in a 275 KVA generator. The results showed a significant NOx reduction of 7.5% across both tests, showing that using HVO fuel improves air quality by simply changing the fuel in non-designated areas.
The CO, CO2 and hydrocarbons (HC) results highlighted the improved burning characteristic of HVO fuel compared to the standard fuel. In particular, the large reduction in HC demonstrated that more of the HVO injected into the cylinder is combusted, reflecting the consistent nature of the fuel in terms of hydrocarbon molecules that it contains.
The table below compares the different characteristics of HVO fuel, FAME, and regular diesel.
|Distillation Level, C||200 – 350||340 – 355||200 – 320|
|Cetane Level||51||50 – 65||70 – 90|
|Stability from Oxidation||Average||Below Average – Poor||Excellent|
Q: What are the advantages of second-generation renewable fuels?
A: Advanced second-generation fuels, also known as advanced renewable fuels, have been designed to combat the operational and performance inadequacies of conventional fuels and earlier generation biofuels:
Maintain or enhance the net CO2 emission profile of conventional biofuels
Ensure end-use quality compared to current sulphur-free fossil fuels
Compatible with existing fuelling infrastructure
Backward and forward compatibility with vehicle and plant technology
Refuse to react with water and won’t be “eaten” by bugs
Meet bio content requirements with no FAME content
Remain mobile and filterable down to temperatures below -32oC
Provide the best environmental credentials available from a liquid fuel
Meet or exceed the lubricity requirements of the major diesel performance specifications EN 590 and ASTM D975
Maintain compatibility with fossil diesel and supply chain
Improve emission profile from E590 optimised engines and provides a platform for further development of C.N. engines
HVO fuel offers the best overall coverage between environmental, operational and performance parameters. It provides the best platform to build a legislative compliant NRMM and MCP fleet. To learn more, get in touch today on 0330 123 1444.
Q: What is the cetane number of diesel?
A: Mineral diesel has a cetane number of 51 and FAME biodiesel has a cetane number between 50 and 65 - whereas HVO has a cetane number between 70 and 90 which provides better starting performance, clean combustion and less chance of waxing in extremely cold weather.
Q: What is HVO fuel used for?
A: HVO fuel is perfectly suited to a wide range of industries as an alternative to diesel, such as construction, rail, events and public transport.
It’s commonly used in:
Agricultural tractors and machinery
Boats and vessels operating within inland waterways
Construction equipment and machinery
Industrial trucks and tankers
A handful of events and UK festivals, including Glastonbury, have already made the move to HVO fuel to power their portable generators and transportation.
Q: What are the benefits of Crown HVO fuel?
A: There are many benefits of using Crown HVO fuel, including operational and environmental factors. These include:
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90%
Meets EN 15940:2016 specifications
Improve your corporate and social responsibility with Crown HVO fuel
Extended 10-year storage lifespan with a reduced need for regular testing
A renewable, sustainable replacement for regular diesel and gas oil
All deliveries are carbon offset – at no extra cost to you
Tested and tried product; it’s clean, safe and endorsed by a wide range of OEMs
Excellent cold-weather performance
Zero FAME, sulphur and fossil content
Free from aromatics, sulphur and metals
Reduced particulate production during combustion reduces the ageing of engine oils
Cleaner and greener air
Fully biodegradable, sustainable and non-toxic
Q: Can my vehicle run on pure HVO fuel?
A: Yes, absolutely! The similarities between mineral diesel and HVO mean that it can be used as a drop-in alternative in most cases. But it’s always best to check with your engine manufacturer first. Or you can call us on 0330 123 1444 and we’ll be able to help.
Q: Can you mix HVO fuel and diesel?
A: Yes, HVO fuel is fully miscible with mineral diesel so you can simply top up your existing diesel stocks and go! However, many of the benefits will be lost if they are mixed due to diesel’s properties. When possible, it’s best to start a fresh with a clean tank of HVO to guarantee its long storage life and high-quality attributes.
Q: What additional infrastructure is needed for HVO fuel?
A: HVO fuel can be used as a direct drop-in alternative for regular diesel without needing to amend existing infrastructure. Paraffinic fuels can be blended with current stocks without having to empty tanks, saving you the cost of an additional upfront investment to make the switch.
Q: Can fossil free HVO fuel cause engine problems?
A: Crown HVO fuel can be used in most diesel engines, but you should always check with the engine manufacturer’s recommendations for each use. HVO fuel has been approved by a wide range of OEMs, such as:
Contact Crown Oil to check if your heavy-duty road vehicle, passenger car or non-road vehicle can use HVO fuel.
Q: How long can you store HVO fuel for?
A: Thanks to the way HVO is produced, it can be left in storage for up to 10 years, as long as you ensure good tank maintenance and storage conditions. It’s still important to get checks on your tank and fuel, but the chance of degradation is much lower than with mineral diesel, which can only be stored for up to 1 year.
Q: Is HVO fuel toxic?
A: HVO fuel is completely biodegradable, non-toxic and odourless as it’s made from 100% renewable waste materials. As a tried and tested clear and bright diesel fuel, it’s perfectly clean and safe to use.
Q: Is HVO fuel already in use in Sweden?
A: Sweden is leading the way in terms of HVO fuels, after passing legislation in 2017 to make them exempt from tax. This saw a 124% increase in HVO fuel sales in October 2017 compared to the year prior, with green diesel alternatives taking up 28% of the market, of which 83% was HVO fuel.
Heavyweight enterprises such as Glastonbury, Hamburg airport and the Eurovision Song Contest have likewise made the switch to sustainable fuel and are already reaping the benefits.
Q: How long will HVO fuel take to arrive?
A: Due to our vast network of oil depots, we store HVO fuel onsite which enables us to deliver it within our usual standard delivery times. This makes us one of the only UK suppliers that can have it delivered directly to your site within 24-48 hours of purchase.
If you need HVO fuel sooner than that, you can take advantage of our emergency fuel delivery service which will ensure your HVO fuel delivery is with you in just a few hours.
Q: What is the price of HVO fuel?
A: Crown Oil supplies HVO fuel at competitive prices to businesses across the UK within 48 hours of purchase. Get in touch on 0330 123 1444 to start reducing your greenhouse gas emissions today.
Q: Who can buy HVO fuel?
A: Anyone can buy Crown HVO fuel. It’s available in tanker deliveries of 500-36,000+ litres if you have the onsite infrastructure to store liquid fuels, or we can also deliver it in 205-litre barrels.
Q: Where can I get HVO fuel?
A: Crown Oil is one of the only suppliers of HVO fuel in the UK. It's available nationwide with same day and next day deliveries.
Go green and clean our air with Crown HVO fuel - one of the world’s purest, cleanest and greenest fuels. Call 0330 123 1444 today.
Q: HVO fuel or electric vehicles? Which is better for the environment?
A: Achieving net zero on time means we need to be smarter about our technology choices; we can't simply substitute them for something that appears to work in the short term.
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers recently published their Accelerating Road Transport Decarbonisation report which raises some concerns over the Government’s electrification strategy.
While the decarbonisation of electricity is developing and electric vehicles (EVs) offer a reduction in emissions at the point of use, there are some hindrances.
Life cycle analysis, also referred to as ‘cradle-to-grave analysis’ is a technique used to calculate the environmental and human health impacts of a product over its lifespan. The government’s aim is to reduce emissions at the point of use; however, the lifecycle analysis revealed that the entire lifespan of a vehicle produces greenhouse gases, from production to the eventual disposal.
In addition, the infrastructure needed to build charging points and lay cables to power EVs is not taken into account and will undoubtedly be fuelled by fossil fuels.
Lastly, there are around 308.3 million passenger vehicles on the road across Europe, with an average lifespan of 12 years, and 99% of these are diesel/petrol.
Given the urgency of the climate crisis, there isn’t enough time to wait for an increase in EV uptake to make a significant reduction in emissions. The adoption of electric vehicles is not the sole answer; and switching to renewable, paraffinic fuels offers a much easier and immediate solution.
* Crown Oil 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.