Common HVO Problems and Their Solutions

switching to renewable fuels

HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) is a renewable diesel fuel that is gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional diesel. However, like any fuel, HVO can have its own set of problems. In this article, we will discuss the most common HVO problems and their solutions.

What is HVO?

HVO is a renewable diesel fuel made from vegetable oils, animal fats, and waste oils. It is produced through a process called hydrotreating, which removes impurities and increases the cetane number of the fuel. HVO is considered a drop-in fuel, meaning it can be used in existing diesel engines without any modifications.

Benefits of HVO

HVO has several benefits over traditional diesel, including:

  • Lower emissions: HVO has a lower carbon footprint and emits fewer pollutants than traditional diesel.
  • Renewable: HVO is made from renewable sources, making it a more sustainable fuel option.
  • Better performance: HVO has a higher cetane number, which improves engine performance and reduces noise.
  • Compatibility: HVO can be used in existing diesel engines without any modifications.

Common HVO Problems

While HVO has many benefits, it can also have its own set of problems. Here are the most common HVO problems and their solutions.

Cold Weather Performance

One of the most significant challenges with HVO is its performance in cold weather. HVO has a higher cloud point (the temperature at which wax crystals start to form) than traditional diesel, which can cause issues in colder climates.

Solution: To improve cold weather performance, HVO can be blended with traditional diesel. Blending HVO with diesel can lower the cloud point and improve the fuel’s cold weather performance.

Filter Plugging

HVO can also cause filter plugging, which occurs when the fuel’s wax content solidifies and clogs the fuel filter. This can lead to engine stalling and reduced performance.

Solution: To prevent filter plugging, it is essential to use a fuel filter with a lower micron rating. A lower micron rating means the filter can catch smaller particles, including wax crystals. Regularly changing the fuel filter can also help prevent filter plugging.

Fuel Stability

HVO has a shorter shelf life than traditional diesel, which can cause fuel stability issues. If HVO is stored for an extended period, it can degrade and form sediments, which can clog fuel filters and cause engine issues.

Solution: To improve fuel stability, it is essential to store HVO in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It is also recommended to use a fuel stabiliser to prevent degradation.

Water Contamination

Water contamination is a common problem with all fuels, including HVO. Water can enter the fuel through condensation or from a leak in the fuel storage tank. Water in the fuel can cause corrosion, microbial growth, and engine issues.

Solution: Regularly draining the fuel water separator can help prevent water contamination. It is also essential to regularly inspect the fuel storage tank for leaks and repair any issues immediately.

Compatibility with Materials

HVO has different chemical properties than traditional diesel, which can cause compatibility issues with certain materials. For example, HVO can cause rubber seals and gaskets to swell, leading to leaks and engine issues.

Solution: It is essential to use materials that are compatible with HVO, such as Viton or Teflon, in fuel systems and storage tanks. It is also recommended to consult with the fuel supplier for a list of compatible materials.

How to Avoid HVO Problems

While HVO can have its own set of problems, there are steps you can take to avoid these issues and ensure smooth operation.

Use High-Quality Fuel

The quality of the HVO you use can greatly impact its performance and potential problems. It is essential to purchase HVO from a reputable supplier that follows strict quality control measures.

Regularly Inspect and Maintain Equipment

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your equipment can help prevent HVO problems. This includes checking for leaks, changing fuel filters, and draining the fuel water separator.

Store Fuel Properly

Proper fuel storage is crucial for preventing HVO problems. It is essential to store HVO in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. It is also recommended to use a fuel stabiliser to improve fuel stability.

Train Employees

Properly training employees on the use and handling of HVO can help prevent problems. This includes understanding the fuel’s properties, how to handle and store it, and what to do in case of a fuel-related issue.

Real-World HVO Problems and Solutions

One company that has successfully implemented HVO as an alternative fuel is Royal Mail . The company has converted its entire diesel fleet to HVO, reducing its carbon footprint and improving air quality.

However, the many companies faced some challenges with HVO, including filter plugging and cold weather performance. To address these issues, the city implemented a fuel blending program, using a 20% HVO and 80% diesel blend in colder months. This has improved the fuel’s cold weather performance and reduced filter plugging issues.

Conclusion

HVO is a renewable diesel fuel with many benefits, but it can also have its own set of problems. By understanding these common HVO problems and implementing the solutions discussed in this article, you can ensure smooth operation and reap the benefits of this sustainable fuel option. Remember to use high-quality fuel, regularly inspect and maintain equipment, store fuel properly, and train employees on the use and handling of HVO. With these measures in place, you can successfully use HVO as an alternative to traditional diesel.

To learn more about our HVO Renewable Diesel and other services call our friendly fuel experts today on 0330 128 9838