New fuel source is 'almost indistinguishable' from diesel and is already used by major brands

Refilling car

A number of key companies are already using the new fuel source

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 01/12/2023

- 08:00

No engine or fuelling infrastructure modifications need to be made with the new fuel

A new fuel source has been praised by a number of companies who say it can slash emissions levels despite it being very similar to diesel.

There have been calls in recent years for an urgent need to cut emissions across the transport sector to meet net zero targets by 2050.

Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) has become a popular alternative for businesses across the world in an effort to slash their emissions and help the haulage sector become more sustainable.

HVO is a fossil-free, renewable and sustainable alternative to other common fuels has been described as “almost indistinguishable” from diesel.

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There are hopes that it could deliver up to a 90 per cent reduction in carbon equivalent emissions compared to traditional diesel.

HVO, which is sometimes known as renewable diesel, has already been adopted by a number of companies, including the Royal Mail.

The benefit of the fuel is that no engine or fuelling infrastructure modifications need to be made, with Royal Mail estimating that it will save a combined consumption of 2.1 million litres of diesel per year.

The UK Government considered HVO biodiesel to be a type of “drop-in fuel” which can theoretically be used in its pure form in diesel-powered vehicles and machinery without modifications to engines.

HVO fuel falls under the EN15940 standard from a mixture of 30 per cent HVO with regular diesel, with engines needing to be recertified to amend the emission requirements.

Older generation engines are rarely or never given permission to use HVO with major manufacturers like DAF, Scania, MAN and Volvo being at the forefront of approvals.

According to BMW, HVO can be partially mixed with normal diesel or completely refuel diesel cars from BMW manufactured from March 2020.

This was done to help contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and make internal combustion engine vehicles more environmentally friendly.

Sam McGuirk, Chief Commercial Officer at Zeus, praised a new partnership between Zeus and Diageo, saying it would help slash emissions across the transport sector.

He added: “Zeus is dedicated to delivering environmentally responsible solutions and advocating for investments in alternative fuels to address the ongoing climate crisis, and our partnership with Diageo reinforces our shared allegiance to a greener future.

“We allocate significant time and resources to ensure we remain at the forefront of the latest advancements and industry updates, and the uptake we’re seeing for our sustainable freight solutions is a testament to the acclaimed reputation we have garnered.”

Since 2022 alone, Zeus has managed to slash its greenhouse gas emissions output for its partners by over 80 per cent.

Philip Byrne, Procurement Category Specialist, GB Logistics at Diageo, added: “It was apparent from Diageo’s first interaction with Zeus that there was an alignment on values.

“2030 is quickly approaching, so Zeus’s focus on sustainability and diversity was a massive selling point.


Royal Mail lorry

Some Royal Mail lorries will soon use HVO fuel


“Their scalability partnered with their flexibility has been a great addition to our business and we are looking forward to what the future of our partnership has in store.”

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