Ford has found a new way of helping improve emissions from its diesel engines in their Transit vans with the help of Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). 

This renewable diesel could be a solution to help cut down on CO2 emissions and is based on waste oil such as cooking oil which can be found in restaurants, takeaways and even in your kitchen at home. 

A standard diesel engine emits a high level of NOx and particulates which can cause damage to the environment and the health of the general public. But with HVO, it can reduce these risks because the fuel contains no sulphur or oxygen. 

In a recent study by Neste, using renewable diesel can significantly reduce the levels of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide and fine particulates – with the latter cut by up to 33 per cent.

The latest Transit is fitted with a 2.0-litre Ecoblue engine and Ford tested it with HVO to see if the engine would need to be modified in any way. But after extensive testing, Ford concluded that no further development would be needed for the fuel to be put into the vans.

A benefit for the engines when running on HVO is the fuel improves diesel engine compression in lower temperatures – making them easier to start on a cold morning. In the creation process, the use of hydrogen as a catalyst is overall a lot cleaner to burn than biodiesels and HVO is guaranteed to have a longer shelf life as well.

You can currently find HVO at fuel stations in Scandinavia and the Baltic States, where they’re available in either pure form or with a blend of regular diesel. 

Hans Schep, general manager for commercial vehicles at Ford Europe said: ‘‘Enabling our vans to run on fuel made from waste, including used cooking oil, may sound far-fetched but using Hydrotreated vegetable is, in fact, a very real way in which Transit drivers and fleet operators will soon be able to help everybody enjoy improved air quality.’’

The fuel will be delivered in bulk by specialist suppliers to a company’s on-site fuelling facility. However, if a vehicle begins to run low on HVO around an area where the fuel stations don’t offer the solution, a driver can put conventional diesel in and both fuels can be mixed together without causing any harm to the engine.