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Is HVO biofuel the new Diesel?

Photo by Engin Akyurt for Unsplash

The transport system in Ireland is the largest source of carbon dioxide at around 18%. Transport is therefore the main target for cutting emissions, as Ireland aims to reduce 51% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Ways to minimise transport emissions include not only the expansion of electromobility, but also new approaches to carbon-friendly fuel.

In this context, the car manufacturer Skoda and oil distribution brand Certa launched a campaign. Skoda and Certa are promoting a diesel alternative called hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). The use of HVO fuels appears to produce up to 90% less carbon dioxide compared to fossil diesel.

Photo by Edmund Ramirez for LinkedIn

Digital Manager at Skoda Ireland, Edmund Ramirez, explains the relatively new fuel option.

Have a listen to his answer.

At the same time, there is growing concern about the use of HVO. Recent research suggests that the biofuel may not be as carbon-neutral as it seems. 

The demand of the origin of HVO – used vegetable oil – is increasing. That means that the need for HVO derived from palm oil is also rising, contributing to further deforestation. In the EU, demand of used vegetable oil could double to 6 million tonnes by 2030.

The Irish Climate Action Plan 2021 sets a target of 200,000 electric vehicles on Irish roads by 2025 and almost one million by 2030. 

Photo by Chuttersnap for Unsplash

Skoda Ireland wants to contribute to this aim.

Dublin City Council has set itself the target of becoming climate neutral by 2030. Ireland has also committed to achieving the net zero emissions negotiated by the EU by 2050. This means reducing greenhouse gas emissions as much as possible in order to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees before the pre-industrial revolution.

Edmund Ramirez concludes with regard to the goal that Dublin City Council is pursuing: “If more automotive brands get behind HVO while their product portfolio still has diesel vehicles, I think it would be very beneficial in actually helping the trajectory towards becoming climate neutral by 2030.”

Several companies in the automotive industry like Mercedes or Ford have the same goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2050. However, it’s a question of time how much biofuel HVO can contribute to a global environmental friendliness.

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