What you need to know about renewable fuel

As concerns for the environment grow, more people are looking for renewable energy sources to reduce the harmful effects of climate change. Some businesses are changing to solar or wind energy to help sustain their operations, but many companies rely on standard fossil diesel fuel to power their machinery or backup equipment.

Renewable diesel fuel is a simple and environmentally friendly solution that can help you stay in operation during a power outage. Learn more about renewable diesel fuel and how it can benefit your business.

What is Renewable Diesel?

Even if you’ve heard about renewable fuels in your industry, you may have questions. Why is it called renewable diesel (RD) fuel? And what exactly makes these fuels renewable?

As the name implies, renewable diesel fuels are produced from renewable and sustainable sources. Renewable diesel is chemically identical to petroleum diesel but is made from green sources as a hydrogenated vegetable oil (HVO) rather than fossil fuels. For example, refineries produce biodiesel using vegetable oil or animal fats. Refineries also produce bioethanol from corn, sugarcane, canola (also known as rapeseed), or other plant products. Some of these materials can be recycled from the agriculture industry.

Hydrogen gas can even be considered renewable if it is produced using a renewable resource and without any CO2 emissions.

Renewable diesel fuel, also referred to as RD or HVO,  is an excellent alternative to standard diesel since fossil fuels release carbon into the atmosphere. Renewable fuels can reduce greenhouse and CO2 emissions that harm the environment and provide diverse fuel options for vehicles and other machinery.

How Are Renewable Fuels Produced?

The production of renewable diesel fuels varies depending on the resources manufacturers are using. Petroleum diesel is produced through hydrogenation. The process starts by removing crude oil from the ground and pumping the non-renewable resource into a refinery. Once there, the crude oil is refined through heat and pressure.

Renewable fuel uses a similar process to petroleum fuels, but renewable diesel (RD) fuel is made from vegetable oil, natural fat and grease instead of crude oil, which gives it the commonly used name “HVO”. Since the process is the same for petroleum and renewable fuel, they’re chemically the same. The chemical similarities mean that renewable HVO diesel works in engines designed for conventional fuels without blending.

Do Data Centers Use Renewable Diesel HVO Fuel in Backup Generators?

A data center houses computer systems and application data, such as servers, routers, switches, firewalls and other essential IT and communication components. Ensuring that these centers have access to reliable backup power prevents the loss of valuable information in case of a power failure.

Some data centers, including Microsoft’s data centers in Europe, already use renewable HVO diesel fuel in their backup generators to ensure the safety of their data for customers while reducing the company’s carbon footprint. Here in the United States, Compass Datacenters has been at the forefront of transitioning their data center emergency backup generator fueling to HVO renewable diesel.

As the climate crisis continues to make headlines, more consumers want to work with companies that switch to renewable energy. The pressure to reduce emissions and find a sustainable energy source is convincing data centers to use renewable HVO diesel in their backup generators. These changes can even inspire data centers to turn to more sustainable operations.

What Are the Advantages of Renewable Diesel Fuel?

Switching to renewable HVO diesel fuel has significant advantages, predominately reducing emissions and your carbon footprint. Since renewable fuels use existing waste or plant materials, such as animal fat or vegetable oil, the manufacturing process creates significantly fewer carbon emissions.

Reduced emissions benefit the environment and protect the ozone layer. Companies that switch to renewable diesel reduce their carbon footprint, appealing to consumers looking to work with environmentally conscientious businesses who take their environmental social governance, or ESG, seriously.

Other benefits of renewable fuels include:

  • Ability to use the same infrastructure as petroleum diesel
  • Little to no performance issues
  • Sustainable energy source
  • Potential for competitive costs in certain areas

Renewable fuels are being produced at refineries right here in the United States which reduces the dependence on imported fuels since many of the required materials can be sourced locally. As more businesses switch to renewable fuels, they’ll create more job opportunities as more refineries add this new type of production to their facilities.

Does My Generator Manufacturer Approve the Use of Renewable HVO Diesel?

Since petroleum diesel and renewable diesel have the same chemical composition, you can use either in your generator without a problem. Renewable fuels can be used as a “drop-in replacement” or interchangeably with petroleum fuel. If you’re using renewable fuel, OEM generator manufacturers approve of using this fuel instead of traditional petroleum diesel.

Renewable and petroleum diesel are manufactured using the same process

Can Renewable Fuels Be Mixed With Petroleum Diesel?

Renewable and petroleum diesel are manufactured using the same process, meaning they’re chemically identical, so you can mix petroleum diesel with various renewable fuels in different amounts.

In its purest form, without mixing with petroleum diesel, renewable diesel is often labeled as R100, RD100, or HVO100. The number indicates the percentage of renewable diesel according to volume. Renewable diesel-petroleum blends are labeled the same way. For example, a fuel blend of 20 percent petroleum diesel and 80 percent renewable diesel would be labeled as R80, RD8020, RD80, or HVO8020 blend. 

You can mix biodiesel the same way. Biodiesel is often combined with renewable diesel and petroleum blends, with a letter and percentage to indicate its corresponding volume. For example, a mixture of 40 percent biodiesel, 40 percent renewable diesel and 20 percent petroleum diesel would have the label B40R40. You can also mix biodiesel with renewable diesel to make a 100 percent renewable biofuel with the label indicating how much of each is present in the mix, such as B30R70.

Are There Climate Stability Issues Associated With Renewable Diesel?

As concerns for the climate grow, news regarding climate change continues to make headlines. More people are pressuring businesses to use green energy sources to limit the harm caused to the environment. Renewable fuels are an excellent option since they drastically reduce carbon emissions compared to petroleum diesel, and use existing infrastructure.

Renewable fuels are produced using renewable resources, so we don’t have to continue to mine for crude oil and harm the delicate balance of the Earth’s environment. Renewable resources are stable and abundant. For example, renewable diesel can be made from plant matter turned into vegetable oil. You can replenish plants quickly, while crude oil is non-renewable.

Switching to renewable fuels can help reduce climate change and the extent of its impact. Renewable fuels are also more secure than non-renewable fossil fuels since we’ll never run out of renewable fuels.

Is Renewable Diesel Right for Me?

Renewable fuel benefits the environment and is just as efficient as petroleum fuel. It’s also easy to implement in vehicles and existing generators since petroleum and renewable fuel are chemically similar. You can blend them to find the right mix for your power needs. 

As renewable fuel becomes more accessible and more states are looking to incentivize its use, experts expect the renewable fuel market to grow 28% by 2026. More businesses are looking for ways to switch to green energy as their customers demand these changes. Renewable fuels will also last longer in the long run as fossil fuels will eventually run out, leaving businesses and consumers alike no choice but to switch entirely to renewable energy.

Choosing renewable fuel now showcases your dedication to reducing the effects of climate change. Your business and the environment will benefit from switching to renewable fuel, and the benefits are instantaneous.

Renewable Fuel From Foster Fuels’ Mission Critical Division

If you’re wondering where to buy HVO renewable diesel, Foster Fuels’ Mission Critical division can provide you with renewable fuel as part of our routine fuel delivery program. Having fuel on hand before an emergency is the best way to prepare your generators and prevent long downtimes. If you enroll in our program, we’ll deliver fuel automatically, meaning you won’t have to remember to call us each time you need more fuel.

We also offer emergency backup generator fuel deliveries if you run out of fuel during an outage. We provide our emergency services 24/7 every day of the year to ensure that you don’t have to deal with costly downtime. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you during an outage.

Contact Foster Fuels' Mission Critical for renewable fuel