• Renewable Diesel (commonly referred to as HVO), is an alternative to white diesel and gas oil that has been made from renewable sources such as waste fats and vegetable oils.
  • The way Renewable Diesel is produced creates a very pure fuel with excellent cold weather properties and a clean, efficient burn.
  • Investment in the supply chain and changes to legislation have enabled better access to bulk deliveries of Renewable Diesel for businesses across the UK.
  • There are several alternatives to Renewable Diesel, so it’s important to consider which option is the best for your business. 

The demand for Renewable Diesel - also known as HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), XTL or R99 - has been increasing in recent years, and investments in the Renewable Diesel supply chain have enabled broader access for businesses. But do you have the critical information to determine if making the switch is right for you? Below are six key questions to answer when deciding how Renewable Diesel could play a part in your fuel mix.

Looking to place an order? Contact the team today to discuss your Renewable Diesel requirements.

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What equipment is compatible with Renewable Diesel?

Renewable Diesel is a very pure hydrocarbon diesel fuel made from verified waste feedstocks, which comply with the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). This means it can be used as a drop-in replacement for conventional, fossil-based diesel, eliminating the need to invest in new tank infrastructure.

Renewable Diesel is approved by most major original engine manufacturers (OEMs) for use in diesel engines and equipment without modifications, so you won’t need to make any costly changes to your fleet or invest in new tank infrastructure. It is always best practice to inspect and clean tanks regularly so you may want to use this as an opportunity to carry out routine maintenance before switching over.

Top tip: Look for an 'XTL’ label – the paraffinic diesel fuel label used across Europe – on your vehicle’s fuel filler cap. If your vehicle has that label, the manufacturer likely approves of Renewable Diesel use in the vehicle. However, we always recommend checking with your manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure Renewable Diesel is compatible with all equipment and warranties.

Did you know...

Some manufacturers, including CLAAS and DAF, are even now using Renewable Diesel for the first factory fill for certain new vehicles, so their new machines are delivered with Renewable Diesel already in the tank and engine.

Where and how can I source it?

It depends on how you fuel. If you’re a bulk fuel user, the outlook is good and access to Renewable Diesel is increasingly easier. Investments in the Renewable Diesel supply chain, coupled with recent changes to UK anti-dumping legislation, have enabled better access to bulk deliveries of Renewable Diesel for businesses across the UK. It’s important to choose a supplier that has ample access to the product. Watson Fuels benefits from access to all major suppliers—as well as parent company World Kinect’s global supply chain—and has invested in local storage infrastructure to support bulk delivery

If you fuel from retail stations, availability is currently a bit more limited. It is growing and available at some retail sites, but it’s not yet readily available nationwide. Currently, Esso, BP and Phillips 66 have Renewable Diesel at select retail sites across the UK. 

Sourcing Renewable Diesel

As part of our broader commitment to support our customers’ decarbonisation journeys, Watson Fuels continues to invest in Renewable Diesel supply infrastructure. Our robust global supply chain delivers when others can’t, and now this proven network is enabling the rollout of regional Renewable Diesel storage across our UK depot network.


Learn more about Renewable Diesel availability in your area. or contact us for a quote today.



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What product am I buying?

Renewable Diesel HVO is a pure hydrocarbon liquid fuel made from a variety feedstocks which are all verified as being from legitimate waste and residue streams and comply with the RED It is created by processing feedstock using a specialised hydro-treatment to achieve high levels of purity. The resulting fuel is very stable, enabling a long shelf life. 

Renewable Diesel is so close in composition to its fossil fuel counterpart that it meets or exceeds the EN590 road diesel fuel standard in all properties, except for density. In fact, the cetane number of Renewable Diesel—a measurement of the quality or performance of the fuel—is much higher (>70) than that of regular diesel (>50), which means it burns more effectively and provides excellent performance year-round.

However, not all Renewable Diesel is created equally. The sustainability credentials of the fuel you purchase depend on what it’s made of and where the feedstocks come from. If you are working toward net zero, you’ll want to be sure you have that evidence for reporting on the positive change you’re making. 

Top tip: Look for a vendor with an ISCC-certified supply chain and verified emissions savings. Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme (RFAS) is the scheme in the UK that verifies claims made by companies supplying renewable fuels to vehicle and equipment operators. The provenance of raw material feedstocks and product's GHG emission savings are validated, so buyers can feel confident in the sustainability of their fuel. 

How will Renewable Diesel impact my greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

A major part of Renewable Diesel’s appeal is that it offers a GHG reduction of up to 90% against conventional diesel*  without incurring any capital expenditure or fleet changes. (Note that this figure is an average and based on UK Government Greenhouse Gas conversion factors per litre of fuel.)

Quality matters, though. Because Renewable Diesel can be made from different feedstocks, it’s important to get documentation that shows the GHG savings of the specific deliveries your company receives. A trusted source like the Renewable Fuels Assurance Scheme, can help strengthen your organization’s decarbonization claims. Watson Fuels follows the RFAS requirement to supply renewable and/or low carbon fuels. Our RFAS reference number is WF-P20/23.

In addition to its strong GHG benefits, Renewable Diesel also delivers excellent storage and cold-weather properties, meaning fleets can also benefit from better startup and throttle performance year-round.

How much does it cost?

Although pricing for Renewable Diesel HVO can vary greatly depending on location and volume required, it is currently more expensive than fossil diesel in the UK. And since different feedstocks, supply chains, and government incentives apply to it, Renewable Diesel doesn’t always mirror global/national oil prices, which can seem confusing.

While it is important to understand the cost implications when making the switch, increased regulations and pressure on companies to reduce their carbon footprint have driven many to decide that they can’t afford to not switch to renewable fuels. And since Renewable Diesel is a drop-in replacement, it is possible to alternate between renewable and conventional diesel deliveries for your sites, while moving towards a fully Renewable Diesel fleet. 

What are my alternatives? 

There are several renewable options you may want to investigate. To ensure you’re making the best choice for your organisation, you’ll want to assess Renewable Diesel against other options for your business.

  • Staying on fossil diesel, of course, remains an option. Many critical applications will continue to rely on fossil fuels for a number of years to come. But, with regulations expanding, exploring sustainable solutions now is a good idea.

  • Carbon offsetting is a viable and cost-effective alternative that many companies are leveraging as a short-term solution for emissions they cannot currently avoid. Offsetting allows you to lower your carbon footprint without changing the type of fuel you use. There are two primary carbon offsetting options: buying Carbon Offset Fuel or buying offsets on a standalone basis. When you buy Carbon Offset Fuel, you’ll pay slightly more per litre to fund global carbon projects that counteract your order’s emissions. Standalone carbon offsets can be purchased in bulk or a one-off to offset the emissions of your fuel, or your entire operation. Watson Fuels can help with both.

  • Electric Vehicles (EV) are a popular choice for reducing emissions, making up 16.5% of new vehicle sales in the UK in 2023. Better battery technology and government initiatives are supporting their increased adoption, particularly for cars and some light-commercial vehicle fleets. However, electric versions of larger vehicles and off-road fleets (HGVs) face some challenges. For example, since their batteries are heavier, payload capacity and travel distance are reduced. It is estimated that full-electric models for HGV vehicles are around 20 years behind the passenger car market. Read more in our latest blog: Decarbonising Transportation.

  • Gas-to-Liquid (GTL) fuel is a fossil-based, liquid fuel produced by a process that converts natural gas into synthetic gas and then to liquid hydrocarbons. Like Renewable Diesel, GTL fuel is a paraffinic diesel fuel. It is cleaner-burning, reduces local emissions and can deliver improved engine performance. Switching to GTL fuel is simple because it can be used as a drop-in replacement in vehicles. Yet while GTL fuel offers local air quality benefits, it doesn’t offer the same GHG savings as Renewable Diesel because GTL fuel is produced from fossil-based sources. 

  • Hydrogen is a promising low-carbon energy source that is both storable and transportable. Three main applications for hydrogen are being tested for use in larger vehicles: 

    • Hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), which are more efficient than traditional combustion engines and produce zero tailpipe emissions
    • As a combustion fuel in hydrogen engines, which produce no CO2 emissions but do produce nitrogen oxides that require exhaust treatment systems
    • As an additive in diesel engines, which typically results in a 30% reduction in diesel consumption and 30% reduction in emissions

FCEV buses and HGVs are increasingly being deployed, particularly in China, North America and Europe, including the UK. You may also have read about the world’s first hydrogen digger, hydrogen-powered HGV cabs and trials of hydrogen fuel cell trains in Europe and Canada. 

As promising as this technology seems, achieving a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions through a switch to hydrogen requires a robust supply chain of green hydrogen that doesn’t exist today, and the process of liquifying the fuel is energy intensive. The many benefits of hydrogen, however, mean research and advancement will continue. Read more about the promise and challenges of hydrogen fuels in our recent blog article.

Ready to make the switch?

Watson Fuels offers bulk delivery of Renewable Diesel nationwide. As members of the RFAS, and ISCC certified traders of renewable fuels, we ensure that the renewable diesel we supply meets strict criteria for GHG emissions, feedstock sustainability and transparent supply chains. We also provide Renewable Fuel Declarations for all the Renewable Diesel we supply, as proof of the change your business is making, and for your own Scope 3 emissions reporting, 

If you’re ready to move to Renewable Diesel or want to learn more, Watson Fuels can help. Contact your Watson Fuels account manager or call your local depot to discuss which options might work best for your business. Use our online depot finder to find locations near you. 

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* Source: Based on UK Government GHG scope 1 conversion factors per litre fuel.

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