HVO Lubricity Challenges

The development of renewable sources of fuel has been pivotal in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as the demand for cleaner fuels continues to grow.

One highly effective and reproducible method of producing renewable diesel involves hydrotreating biomass-derived materials such as vegetable oils. The process of hydrotreating involves the removal of Oxygen and other elements such as Sulphur, by selectively reacting these less desirable materials with hydrogen at relatively high temperatures and pressures.

One drawback of this process is the poor lubricity of newly composed renewable diesel. Considering that sulphur acts as a lubricant in fuel, the low sulphur content in renewable diesel will lead to low lubricity. Additionally, the oxygen-containing components removed during hydrotreating have been studied and proven to significantly reduce wear and improve lubricity to acceptable levels. 

At the same time high sulphur content in petroleum fuels has been identified as a cause for harmful exhaust emissions, which has led to strict regulations on the allotted sulphur content in diesel fuels globally - Ultra Low Sulphur Diesel (ULSD). However, the process used to reduce the sulphur content in diesel also reduces the fuel's lubricating properties, resulting in increased wear on the various parts of the engine's fuel injection system.

With HVO the lubricity is very low due to the absence of sulphur (and oxygen) compounds in the fuel,

The lubricity of a fluid is often defined as the fluid’s ability to reduce friction between that fluid and the solid surface during motion. Lubricity is a key fuel property due to the potential to increase the longevity of a part as well as ensuring maximum performance of the system. When a fuel’s lubricity drops, metal parts are likely exposed to each other, resulting in wear or scarring.

While hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO) do not have the detrimental effects of ester-type (FAME) biodiesel fuels, like increased NOx emission, deposit formation, storage stability problems, more rapid aging of engine oil or poor cold properties, HVOs are straight chain paraffinic hydrocarbons that are free of aromatics, oxygen and sulphur.

HVO is currently only available from a small number of distributors in the UK, more widely available across Scandinavia where it also benefits form reduced fuel duties. Among the fuel’s drawbacks is the price. It is around 10% to 15% more expensive than mineral diesel. That cost will not be recouped through fuel savings: efficiency is only marginally better than diesel. Testing by Cummins a few years ago on Euro 5 showed just a 2.3% fuel saving.

While truck makers are happy to endorse its use, van makers are more equivocal. Some approve it for their entire range, others approve it for some models but not others, and yet others do not approve it at all. Fleets should therefore get written confirmation that HVO is approved for use in a vehicle before they fill up the tank. Failure to do so could invalidate the warranty.

ElimiNOX Eco™
Is certified to be compatible with all forms of diesel.
Treated fuel retains it's EN590 / ASTM D975 compliance thus posing no warranty issues.
Bureau Veritas testing has demonstrated a 30% improvement in lubricity addressing the reduced lubricity found with ULSD and HVO
Based on real world use has demonstrated improved fuel efficiency in the range of 8-9%  

ElimiNox has proven to reduce Particulate Matter PM 2.5 + PM 10 by a further 23% in HVO emissions