HVO, along with renewable diesel and biodiesel, delivers significant GHG and other emissions benefits with the promise for even more in the future
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the transportation sector is now the largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The debate is on about the best ways to decarbonize it. For passenger vehicles that are mostly gasoline powered, the path points towards electrification, with growing numbers of vehicle choices and the necessary charging infrastructure to support them.
The path to decarbonization isn’t as straightforward for commercial trucks and off-road engines and equipment that are primarily powered by diesel though. They’re often much larger, heavier, and needed for different types of work. Think about commercial trucks, farm and construction equipment, as well as industrial pumps, and standby electrical generators.
But what if tomorrow, diesel engines like these stopped using fossil-based diesel fuel and started using a more sustainable fuel such as one made from waste products? It’s not a hypothetical situation. That’s reality right now.
There’s no need for new vehicles to actually benefit from the fuel, any diesel engine or vehicle can use it. New investments in infrastructure to produce, store, and dispense the fuel everywhere aren’t needed either, since the fuel can be dispensed anywhere diesel fuel is sold.
Fortunately, this happens every day across the country. One of the top fuels that can seamlessly replace diesel fuel is hydrogenated vegetable oil, known as HVO. Sometimes it is referred to as renewable diesel fuel too. HVO offers great promise for reducing GHG emissions across many sectors of the economy that depend on diesel.
The carbon reduction benefits of HVO compared to fossil diesel are significant. GHG emissions can be reduced by up to 90% over the fuel’s life cycle compared to fossil diesel (depending on feedstocks). It can also help reduce local “tailpipe” emissions, including lower levels of fine particulates, hydrocarbons (HC), lower carbon monoxide (CO), and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
HVO is produced by processing of waste animal fats and plant oils, used cooking oil, as well as tallow. Both biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel also use the same feedstocks, but each have separate processes to produce the finished product. In the case of HVO, feedstocks are treated with hydrogen under heat and pressure to produce a paraffinic fuel that is very stable when stored. It has better ignition properties than most regular diesel fuel and burns cleaner than fossil diesel. Fuel stability is particularly important with low ambient temperatures and especially in some engines and equipment that isn’t used regularly. This makes HVO particularly attractive in applications such as standby generators.
HVO, along with renewable diesel and biodiesel, delivers significant GHG and other emissions benefits with the promise for even more in the future. They’re a proven pathway for diesel technology to reach a sustainable low carbon future, without the need for new vehicles or infrastructure. The use of these advanced renewable biofuels is expected to grow to over 6 billion gallons by 2030. With advancements in feedstocks, it is expected to exceed 15 billion gallons in 2050. According to Clean Fuels Alliance America, the country’s biodiesel and renewable diesel industry supports 65,000 American jobs and more than $17 billion in economic activity each year. Every 100 million gallons of production supports 3,200 jobs and $780 million in economic opportunity.
That’s why HVO is a fuel we all need to know.