Going Green with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil Fuel (HVO)

Switching to HVO will reduce a company’s environmental impact, improve its corporate social responsibility rating and cut its greenhouse gas emissions, but is it a viable alternative to diesel?

The UK government’s net zero target is fast approaching, increasing the pressure on companies to act quickly and progress to a greener and more sustainable business model. Tackling climate change is not just a case of moral duty, it can help businesses grow, create new jobs, attract investment and adapt to a changing planet. In addition, reducing emissions can lower running costs and attract environmentally conscious customers, providing a competitive advantage within the community.

What is HVO?

HVO stands for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, also referred to as renewable diesel, and is derived from sustainable raw materials, such as vegetable oils, animal oils, rapeseed, sunflower oil and fats. It is a fossil-free diesel fuel that can be used as a direct replacement for both red and white diesel and reduces net CO2 greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 90% without any engine modifications. It offers superior operational and ecological performance over mineral diesel, with enormous environmental benefits that support existing logistical infrastructure.

HVO is part of the paraffinic family of fuels which are stable, renewable, sustainable and high quality, making it perfectly suited for a wide range of applications including vehicles and generators. All raw materials are checked and verified, and the fuel’s credentials are audited by the Department for Transport (DFT) to ensure both sustainability and product integrity are certified.

Who can use HVO?

HVO is suitable for on and off-road vehicles, plant and machinery across a range of industries, including construction, agriculture, transport and logistics, marine and the public sector. In the UK, approximately 4,000 trucks are already running on HVO, demonstrating the growing adoption of biofuels in the fleet sector.

Given the withdrawal of red diesel allowances for many industries, alternative fuels are becoming more popular as a clean compliant and convenient alternative to white diesel. They are also much cheaper to implement than other sustainable solutions, which require investment in infrastructure.

Alongside its strong sustainability credentials, HVO can be seamlessly integrated (at any ratio) into existing vehicles and machinery. Fuel tanks do not need to be drained and cleaned, and no changes are required to existing equipment or storage repositories. This makes it ideal for industries that want to realise significant carbon reduction but find it difficult to decarbonise due to current technology and electrification shortcomings.

existing equipment or storage repositories. This makes it ideal for industries that want to realise significant carbon reduction but find it difficult to decarbonise due to current technology and electrification shortcomings.

HVO and Diesel side by side

Many companies are electing to run both HVO and diesel vehicles side by side, to assess the cost efficiency of both fuels.  This practice is common in the haulage and logistics sectors, particularly as switching vehicles from one fuel to another is relatively easy.

Fleet operators choosing this business model will need to invest in an HVO storage tank and an associated dispenser. The same can be said for fuel retailers wishing to expand their offering to include HVO, as they will also require a suitable storage tank and a dispenser, or as a minimum, the upgrade of existing dispensing equipment to include additional nozzles. Please note the HVO nozzles will need to be an alternative colour from diesel to clearly differentiate the fuels.

Forecourt owners would also need to consider purchasing a probe and tank gauge to ensure an accurate reconciliation of sales and deliveries.

HVO Success Stories
Royal Mail

*Royal Mail has used more than 10 million litres of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) to fuel its heavy goods vehicle (HGV) fleet, saving the equivalent of 30,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The company introduced HVO in June of 2023 as part of its strategy (‘Steps to Zero’) to reduce carbon emissions from its vehicle fleet, ultimately aiming to reach net zero by 2040.

It is now being used at six of Royal Mail’s largest sites, including both parcel hubs in Daventry and Warrington and key sites in the East Midlands, Manchester, Sheffield and Warrington.

The company aims to deploy 27 million litres of HVO annually across its network by this time next year, saving a further 44,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

*Source: FleetNews

**Falkirk Council has introduced HVO as the fuel source for all 24 of its bin lorries. In early 2023, the Council embarked on a three-year, £5-million initiative to create a more sustainable fleet.

Initially, the thought was to change the entire fleet to electric and so far circa 130 EVs (cars and vans) have been put into operation, however, the high cost of electric bin lorries and the limited mileage range prompted a shift to HVO, representing a positive step toward reducing carbon emissions for the Council.

The Council says that crews and drivers have been extremely positive about the move, stating the switch has had no impact on the driving experience and there have been no reported breakdowns or mechanical issues associated with HVO.

**Source: Zemo Partnership

TSG is here to help

TSG UK specialises in managing the requirements of fleet operators, major oil companies (MOCs) and multi-national fuel retail groups by providing the best possible solutions, equipment and maintenance packages on the market today. With over 30 years of expertise in the industry, TSG works together with its clients to fully leverage the potential of the site and available budget.

TSG is a recognised provider of equipment to the retail fuel industry and is now making a name for itself in the new energy sector, delivering a wide variety of products and advanced solutions to assist companies in making the switch to new energies including HVO. The highly-skilled TSG team is trained to comply with strict deadlines and with minimum disruption to sites, providing full turnkey solutions, from site survey, design, construction, project management, civil works, equipment installation and commissioning, all backed up by a service and maintenance package.

tanks by TSG

Storage Tanks

TSG supplies and installs double-skinned below-ground storage tanks (and all associated pipework) constructed to BS EN 12285-1 from steel approved to BS799. They are suitable for storing petroleum, diesel, HVO and other associated oil products.

Additionally, TSG can provide an alternative HVO storage option in the form of bunded, plastic above-ground tanks to suit price-conscious operators.

TSG uses only the best products that will guarantee accuracy, reliability and robustness to benefit both its client’s business and the end-users, along with complete maintenance and support services throughout the UK, using a network of regionally based service engineers.


TSG can help fleet operators, MOCs and large fuel retail groups coordinate dispenser upgrades across their networks, scheduling the work to accommodate business needs and maintain maximum operational uptime.

TSG supplies Tokheim Quantium™ and Wayne Helix™ and Century™ dispenser models that showcase the latest in technological innovation, providing businesses with reliable performance and a low total cost of ownership (TCO). The modern, intelligent design of the new model ranges offers unparalleled choice and modularity, with configurations available for both conventional and alternative fuels such as HVO.

Automatic Level Gauges

TSG offers a comprehensive range of ProGauge probes and consoles, which together can effectively retrieve product readings, water level readings and temperature measurements, so site owners always have an accurate understanding of the underground activity.

Author: Cheryl Ashton

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