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Ford Transit Uses Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil in Europe

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Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil
The Ford Transit’s EcoBlue diesel can run on Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil
Photo: Ford

One of the less-often-discussed alternative fuel options out there is Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil, which creates 90 percent fewer carbon emissions than regular diesel. And it’s now an option for Ford Transit vans in Europe.

HVO, which acts as a renewable biodiesel, is easily sourced from restaurants, catering services, and even schools. RecOil, an initiative backed by the European Commission, is working to ramp up cooking oil collection — including collection from individuals — to speed up the process of converting to oil to HVO.

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Not only is HVO much more efficient than regular diesel, but it makes engines easier to start in low temperatures because of the presence of animal fats and fish oil. Because hydrogen is part of the conversion process, it also burns cleaner and lasts longer on the shelf.

The one drawback: It’s relatively tough to find. According to Ford, HVO is mainly found at fuel stations in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. On the plus side, it mixes just fine with conventional diesel, meaning drivers won’t find themselves in a pinch if they’re somewhere it’s not offered.

Ford Transit EcoBlue capable of using HVO without mods

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van
2020 Ford Transit cargo van
Photo: Ford

Ford tested Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil in its 2.0-liter EcoBlue engine and found that it didn’t require any modifications to the engine to run. The fuel won’t have any impact on vehicle servicing, meaning that fleet operators with EcoBlue-powered Transit vans can look to HVO as a viable, cleaner alternative.

“Enabling our vans to run on fuel made from waste, including used cooking oil, may sound far-fetched,” said Ford of Europe Commercial Vehicles General Manager Hans Schep, “but using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil 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.”

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