How HVO overcomes biodiesel's sustainability setbacks

Written by Will Goldsmith

Biodiesel has a tarnished reputation when it comes to environmental and ethical sustainability, often with good reason. Discover why our next-gen HVO is something else entirely.

Sustainable HVO

Biodiesel has a tarnished reputation when it comes to environmental and ethical sustainability, often with good reason. Discover why our next-gen HVO is something else entirely.

Farmer using HVO Fuel

This guide outlines:

  • The common sustainability concerns associated with biodiesel

  • Why Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a completely different fuel

  • How Prema HVO guarantees the highest level of environmental sustainability

Companies of all sizes and sectors are under rising pressure to reduce their environmental impact. Prema HVO is a cleaner, greener alternative to conventional diesel that can play a key role in delivering this goal.

But isn’t HVO ‘biodiesel’ that causes deforestation and other sustainability problems?

We get this question a lot.

HVO and biodiesel are actually two different things. As we explain below, HVO and biodiesel are two very different things.


#1 First things first, the problems with biodiesel

The environmental issues associated with conventional fossil diesel require no introduction. It releases greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming. It causes air pollution in our towns and cities, and also releases particulate emissions that are harmful to human health.

Biodiesel was developed to tackle some of these issues. Manufactured primarily from vegetable oils, it does an adequate job of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is because growing the feedstock naturally absorbs carbon from the atmosphere in the process, offsetting the emissions from the tailpipe. It is also 100% renewable.

But ‘first-generation’ biodiesel (also known as FAME) has created other problems. Growing the feedstock requires large amounts of land, leading to deforestation to make room for environmentally damaging palm plantations. More land for biofuel also means less land for food, increasing food costs in some of the poorest parts of the world.


#2 Do these problems still exist?

The sustainability of first-gen biodiesel has improved in recent years. In the UK, it must now be sourced primarily from a waste feedstock like used cooking oil to be classified as renewable. This theoretically means no deforestation.

But unfortunately, there are no guarantees. Research shows that the 7% FAME blended into conventional ‘B7’ diesel at the pump today actually contains a mixture of both used cooking oil and direct crop-based products such as palm oil.

Meanwhile, the performance issues associated with FAME mean it can never fully replace mineral diesel and can only be mixed in small proportions. B7 diesel still has a minimum 93% fossil fuel content, resulting in significant greenhouse gas emissions and pollution.

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#3 What about HVO?

Enter the next generation: Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). HVO is not biodiesel. It is put through a much more complex refining process, producing a superior, cleaner fuel that is 100% interchangeable with conventional diesel.

Depending on the application and feedstock, HVO can translate into up to 90% fewer greenhouse gas emissions from well-to-wheel, as well as cleaner emissions from the tailpipe. We can provide a full breakdown of emissions data for Prema HVO on request.


#3 Prema HVO takes things one step further

Not all HVO is alike. It can be produced from a range of different feedstocks, including purpose-grown palm and soy plantations that contribute to deforestation. We believe that only HVO produced from a 100% certified waste-derived feedstock like used cooking oil can be considered truly sustainable.

To ensure the highest proof of sustainability, Prema HVO has full International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) – an independent, globally recognised sustainability body.

ISCC proof of sustainability means we have full traceability of each and every import, confirming where it was manufactured, the raw material origin and type, the supplier, and even a breakdown of the greenhouse gases emitted during production and transportation.

It means we can categorically guarantee that our HVO is deforestation-free. No vegetable oil, palm oil or otherwise, was grown directly for the purpose of Prema HVO. You can be safe in the knowledge that there are no compromises on environmental and ethical sustainability. We believe this is the right thing to do, and does the right thing by you, too.


Want to know more about Prema HVO? Download HVO Brochure


Download the beginners' guide to HVO diesel

Topics: HVO Diesel

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