HDT: Renewable Diesel First Fill for all New Volvo and Mack Trucks

Volvo Trucks North America and Mack Trucks have announced an advancement in their sustainability efforts. Both OEMs will now fuel newly assembled trucks with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). HVO is a renewable fuel commonly called renewable diesel (RD) in North America.

According to Volvo and Mack, RD is a renewable fuel that can be used in the same engine as fossil-based diesel without requiring engine modifications.

Produced from renewable sources such as waste vegetable oils and animal fats, RD has the same chemical structure as fossil-based diesel so it can be used as a direct replacement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining engine performance. By utilizing these waste products as feedstocks, RD production can promote a more sustainable circular economy by converting waste into valuable fuel.

Unlike first-generation biofuels, the OEMs said, these raw sources are processed using a sophisticated hydrotreatment to achieve high levels of purity allowing RD to be stored, used, pumped, and handled virtually the same way as fossil-based diesel products. Because RD is hydrogenated it doesn’t contain oxygen and does not typically present the same challenges of first-generation biofuels, including biodiesel, relating to extreme temperature and storage. This is an added benefit of RD as it does not require separate storage or fueling infrastructure.

RD can be used interchangeably with petroleum diesel. Renewable diesel at any blend up to a maximum of 100% (R100) that conforms to ASTM D975 or EN15940 will not adversely affect engine or aftertreatment performance or durability. However, RD has low lubricity like ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and therefore requires a lubricity additive.

All Volvo Trucks for the North American market are currently produced at the Volvo Trucks New River Valley Assembly Operations (NRV) in Dublin, Virginia. The OEM just announced it is building an all-new truck plant in Mexico to boost production.

Why These Fleets Opt for Renewable Diesel

The new biofuel initiative is part of Volvo Trucks’ broader strategy to decarbonize the industry through a three-pillar approach: enhancing internal combustion engine (ICE) efficiency and drop-in renewable fuels to make the largest immediate emissions reductions while continuing to scale the Class 8 Volvo VNR Electric and developing hydrogen fuel cell trucks.

Today and for the foreseeable future there will not be a one-size fits all approach to decarbonizing transportation,” said Peter Voorhoeve, president, Volvo Trucks North America. “That is why, at Volvo Trucks, we are focused on the three-pillar strategy with battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and renewable fuels in the internal combustion engine. With the all-new Volvo VNL and by utilizing [renewable diesel], we can make the most substantial and immediate impact today. There is a future for the ICE and we’re happy to be doing all factory fills with renewable fuel, an important step towards walking the talk in our sustainability journey.”

Volvo Trucks is fueling new trucks leaving the NRV plant with 20 to 25 gallons of HVO per tank, with full tanks provided for trucks destined directly to customers. This initiative is expected to replace 1,125,000 gallons of fossil-based ultra-low sulfur diesel annually, achieving an estimated 75% to 85% reduction in CO2 emissions for Volvo Trucks’ operations in North America.

Mack has two truck manufacturing plants. All Mack Class 8 models for North America and export are produced at its plant in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. This plant has already been fueling new trucks with RD.  Mack estimates that by utilizing RD, it has already been able to reduce carbon emissions at that facility by about 18%.

Mack said its MD Series Roanoke Valley manufacturing plant in Virginia will begin initial fuel fills with RD later this year.

The Mack MD Series is produced at Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) in Salem, Virginia. Use of LVO for first fills will begin there later this year, the OEM said.

“The utilization of [renewable diesel] will help Mack in its journey to promote the decarbonization of the transportation industry,” said Jonathan Randall, president of Mack Trucks North America. “Whether it’s through the use of [RD], or through the development of Mack battery-electric vehicles (BEVs), such as the Mack LR Electric refuse and Mack MD Electric models, Mack is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and achieving our sustainability goals.”

Originally shared by Heavy-Duty, April 24, 2024. Edited for clarity and purpose. Photo: Volvo Trucks North America.

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