The future to reduced emissions for Diesel engines in Road Transport is here today – Decarbonise Truck fleetS with HVO “Now”

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As the much publicised net-zero target fast approaches, world leaders, environmentalists and engine designers alike continue to search for solutions that successfully cut harmful emissions. MAN Truck & Bus customers, Truck, Bus, Coach and Van operators, have an existing drop-in diesel alternative that will instantly help them reduce their net CO2 by up to 90%, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, otherwise known as HVO, is a diesel-like fuel that is produced without fossil resources by processing renewable waste lipids. Synthesised from 100% renewable raw materials such as vegetable oils, animal oils and fats, HVO offers MAN Truck & Bus customers a viable source of next-generation low-carbon diesel today.

With no impact on the requirement for additional vehicle servicing, HVO fuel, complying with EN15940 standard, can be used as an immediate drop-in replacement for EN590 diesel, providing a straightforward solution for businesses that are currently using fossil diesel and are looking to lower their carbon emissions.

Nick Handy, Head of Product Management – MAN Truck & Bus UK Ltd, said: “As a major Commercial Vehicle manufacturer we strongly believe that HVO deserves to be more prominent as a viable fuel solution to the road transport industry, there’s no better time to switch to HVO and reap its benefits.

“HVO is a paraffinic diesel that can be used as a direct drop-in replacement for EN590 diesel fuel, so as an available solution there is no requirement for operators to reduce vehicle service intervals, add extra levels of fuel filtration, or even impact the vehicles drivetrain warranty. Indeed research has shown that HVO offers superior environmental performance over fossil diesel.“

HVO’s sustainable credentials are covered in the Department for Transports (DFT) Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) provisional report. The RTFO scheme reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels by setting annual obligations on fuel suppliers to supply sustainable renewable fuels.

As a viable drop-in fuel replacement proposition, HVO has chemical and physical properties like those of diesel fuel however, its fossil-free composition and low carbon content differentiate it from diesel. HVO has approximately 7% less fuel density, limited aromatic and sulphur content, and offers a higher quality Cetane value versus diesel fuel, but even with these differences, HVO can be blended and used in any proportion with diesel, 50/50, 70/30, 80/20, or indeed in any mix ratio an operator desires, but in all cases, a reduction in CO2 emissions is achieved.

“With the option to blend diesel and HVO, with no impact on engine behaviour or performance, it can be sourced from any supplier provided that the fuel complies with EN15940. Moreover, when you look at bunkering, as HVO is not prone to bacterial growth (in comparison with biodiesel) it can be stored safely, with no significant risk of degradation or oxidation.” Commented Nick.

“In sharing chemical and performance similarities to those of fossil diesel fuels, HVO offers operators a renewable and green source of diesel.” Added Nick. “However, HVO’s fossil-free composition and low carbon content, differentiate it and make it attractive to those operators who are seeking a sustainable fuel option. And what’s more encouraging, is that it’s available now.”

“All MAN Truck engines, since the introduction of Euro VIc technology in 2017, can operate on 100% HVO or a blended mix, subject to the individual operator’s requirement. In terms of TGE all Euro 6d and Euro VIe engined vehicles can run on HVO with no impact on servicing intervals or warranty, the same can also be said for Neoplan coaches that meet Euro VIc compliance onwards.”

In May 2021 Berwick-upon-Tweed based Simpsons Malt Limited switched their entire mixed fleet of trucks across to HVO, and in doing so reduced their fleet CO2 footprint by up to 90% in a matter of weeks. David McCreath, Simpsons Malt Group Fleet Manager, said: “Here at Simpsons Malt, we’re passionate in our quest to reduce our carbon footprint and we are delighted that we’ve been able to contribute towards this by switching over to HVO. In the 22 months our trucks have been running on HVO, we have been very impressed with the performance, with no change in the miles per gallon of the vehicles, or the servicing intervals. Refuelling has also been made simple through our on-site 140,000-litre steel bunded HVO storage tank. For us, HVO offers a hassle-free solution that delivers huge environmental and sustainability benefits and importantly it is available today.”

With numerous storage solutions available, including personalised plug-and-play tanks placed within an operator’s premises, or by using existing fossil fuel diesel tanks, HVO has proven to be resilient in cold weather, flowing freely down to -32 degrees C, and with its minimum flashpoint of 61 degrees C  it’s extremely safe in warmer conditions as well. HVO is also much safer for the environment too, in the event of an accidental spillage regular fossil diesel can harm local ecosystems, but HVO’s biodegradability and hydrophobic properties mean any potential harm is drastically reduced. This makes it an ideal fuel even in environmentally sensitive locations.

Skelmersdale (Lancashire) based third-party Logistics, Warehousing and Supply Chain Management specialists Kammac Ltd have recently announced the next phase in their journey to become a greener more sustainable company. Ged Carabini, Kammac’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We believe that HVO offers us and the wider road transport community, a simplistic drop-in alternative to fossil diesel fuel. As an environmentally aware business we are currently in the process of converting our modern fleet of over 120 vehicles over to HVO, the result of this will be a net reduction in our CO2 footprint of up to 90%. HVO will without doubt play a big part in our commitment to reduce all our logistics-related emissions to zero by 2050.”

London-headquartered Green Biofuels Ltd (GBF), the UK’s leading supplier of clean, advanced, renewable HVO biofuel, openly acknowledges that HVO is only a bridge on the road to net zero. In the short and medium term, GBF says HVO can help to reduce cost pressures on societies as they make the necessary transition to a long-term sustainable solution.

Magnus Hammick COO of GBF, commented, “HVO is already helping to reduce CO2e emissions across a wide range of industries including, construction, haulage and freight, shipping, and agriculture. HVO provides businesses with a clean, direct drop-in alternative fuel for standard diesel engines – no costly upgrades or new machinery required. In fact, our high-performance Gd+ is the best performing diesel replacement fuel available in the UK, thanks to a special additive not found in any other HVO fuel.

Our products have no impact on land use, and we don’t require virgin crops to produce Gd+. It is a 100% waste-derived product. Last year, our customers in Britain saved over 480,000 metric tonnes of CO2e by switching to Gd+, helping them, and the UK, to attain their net-zero targets.”

The typical HVO fuel cost in the UK varies, depending on the distributor chosen. In this respect, it’s best to ask the HVO distributor for an accurate price quote for your individual requirement. Having said that, you should expect HVO fuel generally to cost around 10% more on average than the price of traditional diesel. But despite the larger investment, the benefits that HVO fuel offers far outweigh the cost.

Talking of performance, John Newell of NWT Newell & Wright Transport, RTN Clayton Vallely Ltd, Road Tankers Northern Group and NWT Motorsport, has been running HVO in his 1200hp MAN race truck in the FIM European Truck Racing Championship, a prerequisite for all competing teams.

“We’ve been running on HVO for over a year now in the race truck and we’ve been constantly impressed with its performance and how clean it burns.” Mentioned John. “The Goodyear FIA European Truck Racing Championship switched to 100% sustainable HVO fuel in 2021, becoming the first-ever FIA-regulated championship to do so. This move to HVO clearly demonstrated how motorsports can help address important topics such as sustainability and social responsibility.”

In conclusion, the average UK 44-tonne truck drives approximately 160,000 kilometres a year and operators could make up to 144,000 of those CO2 free by using 100% HVO renewable diesel. That’s a giant step forward in reducing road transport emissions and a huge move towards a greener future.