24 June 2014

How is renewable diesel different from biodiesel?

Published in Renewable solutions, Sustainability
Neste MY, Diesel, Waste and residue, Environment, Greenhouse gas

Neste MY renewable diesel

Neste MY Renewable Diesel (HVO) is high-class diesel fuel manufactured from renewable raw materials. It is a clearly better fuel than traditional biodiesel. Below is a list of the key differences.


Neste MY Renewable Diesel is a renewable diesel product developed by Neste and its production technolygy (NEXBTL) is patented by Neste. It is not called biodiesel. Biodiesel refers to 'traditional' biofuel, and the chemical composition of such fuel is different from that of both fossil diesel and renewable diesel. Fuels manufactured from ester (FAME, Fatty Acid Methyl Ester), which is made from vegetable oil, are called biodiesels, and Neste MY Renewable Diesel is called renewable diesel.

Raw materials.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel can be manufactured from any organic biomass, such as vegetable oil and a variety of waste and residues. At present, Neste manufactures Neste MY Renewable Diesel from over 10 different raw materials. Most of the biodiesels (FAME) currently on the market are manufactured from rapeseed oil, rape oil, or soybean oil.

Manufacturing process.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel is hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO). In the manufacturing process, impurities are first removed from the raw materials and then the raw materials are treated with hydrogen at a high temperature. With this process, it is possible to manufacture hydrocarbon with chemical properties similar to that of fossil diesel from a variety of raw materials. Quality of the final product is always the same, regardless of which raw materials are used. Traditional biodiesels are manufactured by esterifying vegetable oils or fats, and the properties of the final product depend on the raw materials used.


Since the chemical composition of Neste MY Renewable Diesel is similar to that of fossil diesel, it can be blended with fossil diesel in all proportions. Adding Neste MY Renewable Diesel to fossil diesel results in a mixture of a higher quality, while adding FAME biodiesel results in a mixture of a lower quality. The maximum allowed concentration of biodiesel is 7%, but there are no limitations to Neste MY Renewable Diesel diesel concentration. It can be used as such, 100% pure product.


Neste MY Renewable Diesel can be used as such or mixed with fossil diesel, which means that it clearly assists in meeting one's biofuel mandates. Since the maximum allowed concentration of FAME is 7%, there are only limited possibilities for using biodiesel to meet one's biofuel mandates.

Storage properties.

Like fossil diesel, Neste MY Renewable Diesel can be stored for long periods of time without any major change to its properties. Furthermore, Neste MY Renewable Diesel does not accumulate any water, which is sometimes a challenge when using biodiesel. Biodiesel should be used within six months from its manufacturing date to minimize the potential of changes in product quality and the risk of microbial growth.

Recommendations by motor manufacturers.

Renewable diesel (HVO) is the biocomponent recommended by the latest and strictest WWFC (Worldwide Fuel Charter) specification. WWFC 5 does not allow the use of traditional biodiesel, but it does recommend the use of renewable diesel because of its high cetane number, for example. WWFC 5 also lays down strict limit values for properties that influence generation of exhaust gases, service life of particle filters, long-term durability of motors, motor performance, and cold weather performance.

Cold weather performance.

The cold weather performance of Neste MY Renewable Diesel can be customized during the manufacturing process. The cloud point of Neste MY Renewable Diesel, an indicator of the lowest possible storage temperature, can be –40°C at its lowest. The cold weather characteristics of biodiesel are highly limited and dependent on the raw material used. The cloud point of biodiesel manufactured from, for example, rapeseed is around –5°C.

Cetane number.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel's cetane number, an indicator of its flammability, is very high, more than 70. This will assist motors in starting when the weather is cold and decrease the fuel consumption, particularly when driving in an urban environment. The cetane number of traditional biodiesel is usually no more than 50–60.


Neste MY Renewable Diesel does not contain any sulfur or aromates. Thus, it generates very few impurities when burning inside a motor. Neste MY Renewable Diesel will clearly reduce a vehicle's particle, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide emissions. Since burning Neste MY Renewable Diesel generates practically no ash, it will extend the service life of particle filters. The properties of motor oil will also remain better for longer due to Neste MY Renewable Diesel's chemical composition. Biodiesel generates more nitrogen oxide emissions than fossil diesel and may deteriorate the service life of motor oil and particle filters.

Further information

Advanced biofuels and engine performance (video)