Advanced Fuels: HVO

Green Business
Advanced Fuels: HVO

By sennder team, 3 minute read

We’ve known for a long time that if you put the best fuels in an engine, you’ll get the best performance. Just think of the Formula 1 cars zooming around the track! So it’s unsurprising that this is also true of low carbon transport. Enter: hydrotreated vegetable oil.

HVO is a high quality, renewable diesel for low carbon road freight transport

HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) is renewable diesel produced from waste products. This makes it both renewable and low carbon. By “renewable,” we mean that it is produced from green sources like food waste. Fossil fuels, which are the main cause of climate change, are non-renewable because once they’re used, they’re gone forever.

The most common sources of feedstocks (what a fuel is made from) for HVO include:

  • Used cooking oil

  • Animal fat from food industry waste

  • Vegetable oil processing waste and residues

  • Fish fat from fish processing waste

  • Technical corn oil

HVO is produced by hydroprocessing and then hydrotreating these raw materials. The result of this production process is a colorless, odorless, and renewable diesel with the same chemical composition as fossil diesel that can be used exactly like fossil diesel.

As one of the highest quality fuels on the market, HVO can reduce carbon emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil diesel.

A drop-in fuel that you can use just like fossil diesel

HVO is free from the impurities that plagued the first generation of biodiesel. This means that HVO can be used in any mixture with fossil diesel from 1% - 100% without negatively affecting engine performance or maintenance cycles. Road transport companies’ biggest assets are their trucks, after all. It’s important to run those trucks on fuels that support healthy engine performance.

HVO availability in Europe is extensive

Within Europe, pure HVO is currently available in Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovakia and Sweden. Outside Europe, HVO is available in the United States and other large markets.

Truck producer certifications for HVO fueling

Although HVO is a drop-in fuel that can be used like fossil diesel, most major truck manufacturers have gone the extra mile to explicitly certify their heavy duty vehicle engines for use with HVO. These certifications are primarily to empower carriers to use HVO, without worries about invalidating their leasing agreements.

Some examples are:

Ensuring high quality and sustainable feedstocks is key

One potential disadvantage of HVO and biofuels in general is that they can be made from feedstocks that are not responsibly sourced. This includes palm oil. Palm oil has a large negative impact on the environment because it is often produced in areas where rainforest is destroyed to make way for palm plantations. Chopping down the rainforest to burn oil in our trucks is not a solution to climate change. For example, an Italian producer was recently fined 5 million EUR for their production of HVO with palm oil.

Ways that users of HVO can ensure that quality is high include:

  • Identifying the producer of the HVO fuel

  • Requesting a Proof of Sustainability (POS) from the supplier or producer (which is a third party certification for the carbon impact of the fuels)

  • Committing to only purchasing HVO from top quality suppliers

Taking these three steps will allow HVO users to avoid the potential pitfalls of biofuels and achieve the positive climate impacts of the fuels.

HVO: A clean burning fuel that reduces carbon emissions by up to 90%

Can goods be transported at scale throughout Europe using upcycled french fry oil? Yes! Right now, HVO is the closest thing the transport industry has to a magic bullet for reducing carbon emissions. HVO adheres to EU diesel standard EN 15940 - and it has up to 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil diesel. We’re in a transition phase right now, in which long-term solutions like electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles aren’t yet scalable.

HVO is an excellent green transport option for today’s road freight industry.


Learn more about sennder’s HVO fueling solutions HERE.