Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil

While its name may sound like something out of a science-fiction show, hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) is something that’s becoming more widely used across the world. One study projects the growth of the HVO industry to go from producing 5.5 billion litres in 2018 to 13 billion litres by 2024.

If you’re thinking of hiring a temporary boiler, then you might be considering using HVO to fuel it. As an increasing industry and a popular choice for those requiring fuel, let’s dive into hydrotreated vegetable oil, and find out its uses.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil

What is Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO)?

HVO, or hydrotreated vegetable oil, refers to a biofuel made from processed vegetable oils or animal fats using a specialist method of hydrotreatment. Due to its source material, it is considered a renewable diesel, and it’s known for having a longer shelf life than other biodiesel such as green diesel and unmodified vegetable oil.

How is HVO produced?

HVO takes fatty acid feedstock such as vegetable oils, waste fats like from animals or cooking, and some alternative oils like jatropha or algae, and puts them through a hydro-processing treatment.

The acids go through hydrotreatment. This element uses hydrogen to make paraffin and cycloalkanes out of the unsaturated compounds. These less reactive and more stable compounds then undergo hydrocracking or isomerisation, which heightens the quality of the fuels.

How is HVO Fuel different from other diesel fuels?

As an eco-friendly alternative to traditional diesel, HVO could offer some benefits. A recent study showed that the use of HVO reduces carbon monoxide and dioxide as well as hydrocarbons without requiring any mechanical modifications. However, the same study revealed that the rate of nitrous oxide emissions from HVO fuel was unclear. While it remains the more eco-friendly alternative to diesel, it still has some environmental impact.

Some experts have highlighted that this process gives HVO an advantage over other biofuels, as it is not subject to the 7% blend rule when blended for diesel which more conventional biofuels are subject to. It’s also potentially more stable than unmodified oil thanks to its hydroprocessing treatment.

Pros and Cons of HVO

As we’ve previously mentioned in this article, there are positives and negatives to using this newer type of diesel. Let’s take a close look at the pros and cons.

The Pros

  • Reduces emissions – Broadly speaking, using HVO does release fewer NOx, PM and CO2 emissions compared to traditional diesel.
  • Drop-in fuel – Unlike other eco-friendly alternatives, there is no need to change the infrastructure of your system.
  • Longer shelf life – HVO overcomes the problem of a short shelf life faced by regular biodiesel.

The Cons

  • Inconsistent – The quality can vary when producers add palm oil into the mix and using these unsustainable oils like this can reduce the positive environmental effects.
  • More expensive – The cost of HVO is higher than standard diesel, but not as costly as updating your infrastructure.
  • Limited availability – Compared to the rest of the EU, the UK’s supply of HVO is underdeveloped.


HVO can offer a more eco-friendly alternative to fuelling your hire boiler, but it can come at a higher price tag.

If you’re interested in hiring a temporary boiler and want to know more about our sustainable fuel alternatives, then contact Rapid Energy. We offer HVO on all of our packed boilers, so get in touch today on 0800 464 7025 to learn more. Alternatively you can complete the form below and a member of our team will call you back.

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