Can used frying oil save the diesel engine?
Hydrotreated vegetable oils (HVO), biodiesel based on deep-frying oil treated with hydrogen, can reduce CO2 emissions of a diesel car by 90%, Johan Mattart, director of the Belgian federation of fuel traders Brafco stated in an opinion article in De Standaard on Thursday. But it does not offer a viable alternative for the future, specialists say.
As a result, even older diesel engines could be allowed back in the low emission zone, Mattart states in his article. He also points at the fact that emissions of NOx and fine particles are ‘significantly lower’ too.
“HVO produces indeed far less CO2, but this isn’t the case for all biodiesel. And there still are emissions, compared to electric cars”, Anouk van Grinsven from the Dutch research institute CE Delft says. CO2 emissions from biodiesel based on colza for instance are in some cases higher than with regular diesel. And when palm oil is used, it can be several times higher.
“It looks like HVO will not become the fuel of the future, but it can make the existing fleet of diesel cars greener. These diesel cars will not disappear tomorrow”, says Gilbert van Rens, board member at fuel supplier Maes.
According to Belgian environmental umbrella NGO Bond Beter Leefmilieu (BBL), HVO fuel is only available to a limited extent. That’s why this fuel should better be used in sectors that are more difficult to electrify, such as shipping and aviation, the organization claims.
In the Netherlands, diesel drivers can already fill up their cars with HVO, but the Dutch have to import it from other countries, as local supply isn’t sufficient.
In Belgium HVO can be sold since 23 July, but for the time being the Belgian motorists are not able to fill up with blue diesel yet. The maximum price will be 30 cents above regular diesel, however, the production cost 60 cents per litre extra, what should be compensated by a reduction in excises.