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Fossil-free diesel available in first pumps

Credit: Belga

A synthetic diesel made with food waste and by-products from the food production sector is, for the first time, commercially available in three Belgian service stations.

Not only does the fuel require no drilling for oil wells – itself a highly polluting process – it also emits 90% less CO2 than conventional diesel.

Diesel HVO100, made with hydrotreated vegetable oil such as that used in fritures, is the product of Finnish company Neste and arrived in Belgian pumps on Thursday. It can be found at Q8 service stations in Zaventem, Rotselaar, and Malines. Coverage will be expanded to stations in Verlaine, Lokeren, and Ranst over the course of the month.

The fuel is suitable for all diesel engines with the only major drawback being the price: it costs 70% more than conventional diesel. However, Neste forecasts a drop in prices as supply increases. In addition, this new fuel will considerably reduce the emissions of a diesel vehicle – which in most cases is more polluting than petrol.

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And whilst the climate crisis features evermore highly on political agendas, the widespread adoption of such a synthetic fuel could play a major role in lowering the carbon footprint of a notoriously dirty transport sector.

“We came up with this technology 15 years ago but for now, HVO100 is only available in Belgium,” Peter Zonneveld, vice-president of sales at Neste, explained. “The aim is to increase coverage in service stations in the future.”

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