Ford has approved the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in its Transit vans. This renewable diesel fuel is based on waste oils, including used cooking oil that can be sourced from restaurants and takeaways – and even kitchens at home.
The use of HVO – or renewable diesel – in place of conventional fossil fuels can contribute to improvements in air quality. Greenhouse gases can be reduced by up to 90 per cent compared with regular diesel; and vehicles run on HVO emit less NOx and particulates than other diesel vehicles because the fuel contains no sulphur, or oxygen.
Grease is the word
Commercial companies across Europe collect used cooking oil from restaurants, caterers and schools. RecOil, an EU initiative supported by the European Commission, is working to increase collections to boost biodiesel production, including more household collections.
Additionally, HVO, which also incorporates waste animal fats and fish oil, helps diesel engines start more easily in low temperatures. The creation process, using hydrogen as a catalyst, means HVO is both cleaner-burning than conventional biodiesels and has a longer shelf life.
Ford thoroughly tested HVO in its 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine to make sure no modifications would be needed, and servicing would not be affected. No further development of the fuel was needed before it could be used in Ford’s latest Transit vans.
HVO is on sale at selected fuel stations in Europe, mainly in Scandinavia and the Baltic states, where it can be offered in a pure form, or as a blend with regular diesel. The fuel has also been adopted by individual fleet operators in other markets, to improve their green credentials, with fuel delivered in bulk by specialist suppliers to a company’s on-site fuelling facility. If a vehicle runs low on HVO in an area where it is not offered for sale, the driver can fill up with conventional diesel – the fuels can mix in the tank without causing problems
“Enabling our vans to run on fuel made from waste, including used cooking oil, may sound far-fetched but using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is, in fact, a very real way in which Transit drivers and fleet operators will soon be able to help everybody enjoy improved air quality.” Hans Schep, general manager, Commercial Vehicles, Ford of Europe.
I the United States, we have found that unless the oil is cleaned properly—it will smell like whatever was cooked in the oil, including french frys.