Looking for HVO for your business?

A Guide to Navigating the HVO Pros and Cons

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is an innovative alternative fuel developed to reduce our dependence on standard diesel and cut our collective carbon footprint: but do you know the HVO pros and cons?

You may have heard the benefits, such as seamless integration and strong sustainability credentials. It can be used as a direct drop-in replacement for standard diesel and offers impressive and instantaneous carbon reduction. But like all energy types, old and new, HVO has its advantages and disadvantages.

Here, we aim to give you a steer on what these are so that you can weigh up your options and make a balanced business decision.

HVO fuel benefits  
Significant reduction in net CO2 greenhouse emissions
By transitioning to HVO from standard diesel, you can cut life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions from operations by up to 90%*, helping to lower your carbon footprint with immediate effect.

Fewer nitrogen oxides (NOx) than standard diesel
HVO releases fewer oxides of nitrogen than traditional diesel. These emissions can be harmful to human health and add to the formation of smog and acid rain, as well as impact the tropospheric ozone.

Less particulate matter (PM) than standard diesel
When combusted, HVO creates fewer harmful particulates than standard diesel. PM contains liquid droplets that are so small that they can be inhaled and have been associated with serious health problems.

The alternative diesel is less toxic than standard diesel and is odourless. It can be naturally broken down in the soil, thereby avoiding land and waterway pollution in the event of a leak or spillage.

100% renewable
HVO is made from renewable and sustainable sources as opposed to fossil-derived diesel, which is finite.

No need to change infrastructure
As a drop-in alternative, HVO can be used in vehicles or equipment designed for standard diesel, without any changes to the engine or infrastructure. Tanks also do not need to be drained, flushed or cleaned out.

Practically FAME-free*
Highly-stable, HVO poses a low risk of filter blockages or water contamination in bulk storage – helping to reduce the risk of unplanned maintenance and machinery downtime.

Long shelf life
The fuel has a shelf life of up to 10 years, with limited risk of degradation or contamination. This makes it a popular choice for emergency power generators, which are infrequently used but vital for operational continuity.

Powerful performance
HVO has a naturally low cold filter plugging point (CFPP) to -30 degrees, as well as higher filterability and improved combustion over some alternatives.

Achieve ESG and sustainability targets
Adopting renewable diesel can contribute towards businesses’ life cycle carbon reduction initiatives and offer significant social, environmental and reputational benefits.

HVO fuel disadvantages  

As a premium liquid fuel, HVO currently costs slightly more than regular diesel. However, as a direct replacement for standard diesel, you can significantly cut your fuel-related life cycle carbon emissions, without any investment in new machinery or infrastructure.

To help businesses switch to HVO in a cost-effective way, Certas Energy provides flexible fuelling options, such as delivery in IBCs or split deliveries.

Not all fuel suppliers offer HVO so it is not as widely available as standard diesel.

However, customers of Certas Energy need not be concerned. We have gone to great lengths to guarantee a consistent, convenient, and competitive supply of HVO to businesses across the UK. The fuel is available for delivery nationwide, as well as at a growing selection of refuelling sites – making Certas Energy the first fuel distributor to offer HVO fuel to HGV fuel card users at the pump. Plans are also in the pipeline to roll-out supply across our retail network.

Uncertainty over compatibility
HVO can be used in on- and off-road vehicles, plant and machinery, and generators without engine and machinery modification. However, some sectors are still sceptical about its suitability for different engines, largely due to it being a relatively new fuel.

HVO is approved by the vast number of OEMs and the fuel meets EN15940 standard for paraffinic fuels and Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC Annex II. Anyone who is unsure about compatibility can check with our team of experts.

Not an emission-free fuel
HVO is a transitional fuel which means that while it can play a significant role in plugging the gap to net zero, it does not eliminate all emissions. Zero-carbon technologies, such as electric and hydrogen, are crucial in the energy mix of the future but there are current limitations preventing them from being feasible options for wide-scale commercial use.

HVO, on the other hand, is a readily available alternative to standard diesel that can help multiple sectors to take meaningful steps towards their sustainability goals, without delay or disruption.

Supply chain transparency
Greenhouse gas savings differ between products and batches, as they do not come entirely from tailpipe emissions. The percentage is based on a life-cycle, well-to-wheel calculation, taking into account feedstock, production processes and transportation.

It is therefore imperative to be thorough when it comes to choosing a supplier so you can be confident in your own carbon reduction claims.

Delivering ultimate peace of mind

We have provided fuel for thought but now it is over to you to decide if HVO is the right fit for your business. Whether you are ready make the switch or not, one thing is certain: HVO is a transformative fuel helping to power a lower emissions future for industry.

As the UK’s leading independent distributor of fuel and lubricants, Certas Energy is the ideal energy transition partner, providing a reliable, responsive and reputable supply of premium renewable diesel HVO.

An approved Renewable Fuel Supplier under the Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme (RFAS), we only partner with other RFAS suppliers and International Sustainability & Carbon Certified (ISCC)-accredited suppliers.

So you can rest assured that Certas Energy HVO is made from verified and sustainable sources that meet the highest auditable standards.

Supplied straight to your business or through our network of HGV refuelling sites, Certas Energy HVO is an efficient and effortless way for you to reduce emissions and evolve your energy mix.

Go further on your energy transition journey with Certas Energy HVO. 

For more information, contact the HVO Hotline on 0345 456 1800 or email our energy experts at hvoteam@certasenergy.co.uk. Still got questions? Visit our HVO FAQs.

*Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/greenhouse-gas-reporting-conversion-factors-2023

*<1% nominal trace levels only, if not zero.

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