Blue diesel HVO is a “bio” synthetic fuel compatible with modern engines. The history of this artificial fuel began in the 1920s in France and Germany with research that was quickly abandoned.
Research eventually resumed in Germany during World War II as the Nazi regime gradually became cut off from normal supplies. There was industrial production.
Since then, laboratories have continued research, especially during various oil shocks, to improve the fuel and its characteristics.
Today, HVO can be produced from waste oil, rapeseed oil, palm oil and animal fat. But it is also possible to make it with other ingredients such as straw or wood waste.
The end product, which resembles fossil diesel, has a slightly higher production cost than conventional biodiesel, but is a higher quality product that can be blended almost 100% in a conventional engine.
Already tested in Volkswagen and Audi
Volkswagen has officially approved models equipped with four-cylinder diesel engines to use paraffin fuel. All Volkswagen models with four-cylinder diesel engines (TDI) delivered from the end of June 2021 are approved to run on paraffinic diesel fuel in accordance with the European standard EN 15940.
Audi has all V6 diesel engines up to 286 hp. A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, Q7 and Q8 models produced from mid-February 2022 can be fueled with HVO fuel.
HVO will follow in early March for the Audi Q5, followed by the A6 allroad* in the expansion phase to 245 hp. In the Volkswagen Touareg* in the 231 hp power classes. and 286 hp can run on environmentally friendly diesel fuel.
In addition, HVO is approved in Europe for Audi A3, Q2 and Q3 four-cylinder diesel engines produced from June 2021.
HVO diesel is already available at more than 600 filling stations in Europe, most of which are located in Scandinavia, where environmental requirements are particularly stringent.
Advantages and disadvantages of HVO
What are the benefits for HVO?
The odorless HVO formula reduces CO2 emissions by more than 60% and fine particles by more than 85%; an additional advantage is low NOx emissions compared to conventional diesel fuel; fuel compatible with modern engines.
The challenge during this diesel phase-out period will be to explain to the general public that diesel is less harmful and that it could be part of the travel of the future.
Disadvantages of HVO
Like E85, HVO causes an estimated consumption increase of up to 6%.
HVO is estimated to be about 5-10% more expensive than the current B7 or B10 diesel.
In addition, the supply of raw materials with low environmental impact is limited.
Finally, tests conducted in the USA on their HVO show poor frost-resistant properties at low temperatures (-14°C).
Porsche and Siemens jointly build synthetic fuel plant
Porsche and Siemens Energy are partnering with a number of international companies to build a nearly CO2-neutral fuel (eFuel) plant in Punta Arenas, Chile. A pilot plant is being built in Patagonia, Chile. In 2022, it should produce about 130,000 liters of e-fuel.
The capacity will then be increased in two stages to around 55 million liters in 2024 and around 550 million liters in 2026.
Sports car manufacturer Porsche is implementing the project and will use eFuels in its internal combustion engine vehicles.
The Porsche 911 is particularly suitable for e-fuel use, depending on the brand. The same applies to historic cars: around 70% of all Porsches ever built are still in service.
According to Porsche, the tests with renewable fuels will be successful.
eFuels will reduce fossil CO2 emissions from internal combustion engines by up to 90%.