top of page

Does HVO need to be cleaned?

Updated: Aug 16, 2023

HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) has started to make a splash in the emergency power industry because of the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over diesel fuel. HVO is a part of renewable diesel (RD), and also known as HDRD, HEFA, or HBD. Hydrotreating is a process in which hydrogen is used to remove oxygen and double bonds creating primarily long chain hydrocarbons along with other molecular structures that are like those in conventional petroleum diesel. Let's take a deeper look into HVO and how it is helping our climate.

HVO is the next generation of renewable diesel fuel that replaces the previous biodiesel FAME. HVO has increased performance and stability over FAME.

HVO offers up-to a 90% decrease of CO2 emissions over traditional diesel fuel. The decrease in CO2 is from the entire life cycle (i.e., producing, manufacturing, storage, and consumption). HVO has also shown some decreases in NOx and particulate matter (PM). It has a shelf life of about 6-12 months, which is an improvement over previous fuels (i.e., high and low sulfur fuels) with a typical heating/cooling cycle. As of June 2023, there has been a significant increase in HVO offered at traditional service stations in the states of California, Texas, and Oregon.

Is my generator or diesel-powered engine compatible?

Most diesel engine manufacturers have approved HVO if it can use red or white diesel, making it an easy adaption. You are allowed to mix diesel and HVO however starting with an empty clean tank is the best way to help lower your emissions.

Where does HVO come from?

It comes from feedstocks. Feedstocks include vegetable oils, animal fats, and greases (used oil). Many different processes exist for manufacturing hydrocarbon biomass-based diesel fuels:

1. Catalytic hydrotreating of triglycerides and fatty acids, or of crude tall oil

2. Co-Processing with petroleum

3. Biomass-to-Liquids (FT diesel)

4. Biogas-to-Liquids (GTL/FT diesel)

5. Catalytic Upgrade of Sugar

6. Fermentation of Sugar

7. Biomass fast pyrolysis /hydrotreating

Do you need to clean HVO fuel?

Most hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel and jet will undergo some form of degradation that forms an acetate anion and hydrocarbon fragment. HVO will start to become gummy with particulates and microbes. Therefore, you still have to maintain your fuel with a Fuel Maintenance System (FMS) to eliminate free water from forming, minimizing the intensity of microbial contamination.

Do you need to add stabilizers and/or additives?

Simple answer is yes, HVO has properties similar to traditional diesel per the ASTM, CGSB, and CEN. These properties help stabilize the fuel for temperature, shelf life, lubricity, flash point, viscosity, smoke point, and conductivity. Science behind manufacturing can be lengthy including acids, cetane, fermentation, catalysts, hydrogen and other compounds to create a stable compound chain.

It is recommended to still add multi-functional stability additive that includes metal deactivator and antioxidants to help keep oxygen from forming within the fuel, leading to oxidation, water, and corrosion. Giving your fuel extra shelf life within the tank.

Also use an EPA Registered Biocide to help illuminate any bacteria and fungi from forming in hydrocarbon fuels.

Should you switch to HVO?

This decision is yours, but the benefits out-weigh the cons.

To keep this simple...

- Crude oil is captured CO2, converted to fuel, then burned and let back into our atmosphere.

- HVO is the byproduct of plants/oils that absorbed CO2, converted to fuel, then burned and returns to the atmosphere "recycling."

We believe in a greener tomorrow and love the idea of HVO. With any new technology, there comes downsides, but overall, it's a step in the right direction. This information is to help you decide if switching your fuel could be worth your time, money and resources. Whatever you choose, we will be there to help clean and protect your fuel with our Fuel Maintenance System (FMS). Contact a Local Rep today.

Special consideration to FQS (Fuel Quality Services) Home | fqswebsite (

For more information regarding HVO, please visit Published Reports - Coordinating Research Council (

Use the search bar and type "673" to find the CRC Project DP-08-18 (CRC Report No. 673)

21 views0 comments


bottom of page