Ciara Breen (left), Marketing Manager at Škoda Ireland, and Laura Byrne Head of Sustainable Fuels at Certa. Photo: Mark Stedman.

Get HVO-ready, diesel car owners are urged

Škoda Ireland and fuel retailer Certa recently launched a new joint campaign aimed at encouraging owners and would-be buyers of new diesel cars to use HVO biofuel to lower their motoring carbon emissions by up to 90 per cent.

The leading car brand and one of Ireland’s largest fuel suppliers are partnering on the initiative aimed at creating awareness of the benefits of using hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) as a replacement for diesel.

HVO biofuel, which is a relatively new fuel, is usually sold at a slightly higher cost than diesel. However, Certa currently has an offer which matches the price of HVO with that of diesel. The company, which is part of DCC plc, also announced plans to introduce new HVO pumps at more forecourts throughout the country.

The fuel supplier is in the process of upgrading its network of 41 unmanned, pay@pump forecourts to offer HVO at all fuel pumps alongside other fuels.

HVO is currently available at Certa forecourts at Liffey Valley in Dublin, the Lee Tunnel in Cork and Trim in Meath. Certa is planning to have seven more forecourts HVO-ready by the end of this year.

HVO is a second generation low-carbon biofuel that serves as a direct replacement for regular diesel without any need for vehicle or engine modifications. It is produced using waste plant matter and hydrogen, which means it does not release any additional carbon emissions into the atmosphere and can result in a 90 per cent net reduction in CO2 emissions.

HVO is distinguished at fuel pumps through the use of a pink nozzle, which stands out from the black diesel and green petrol ones.

In Ireland, HVO is expected to meet a large proportion of the increase in biofuel supply to decarbonise the transport sector and is considered an important transition fuel as electric-powered vehicles continue to become more mainstream.

HVO can be used as a direct replacement for diesel in a wide variety of fleet, plant and machinery equipment in addition to passenger cars. It can also be mixed with diesel in any ratio.

The performance of diesel engines using HVO is claimed to be virtually identical to when they are fueled with diesel. Indeed, a brief drive in an HVO-powered Skoda Karoq showed no difference.

Andrew Graham, managing director of Certa, said most modern diesel cars are HVO-ready, but advises all owners to check with the manufacturer of their car to make sure this is the case. “Once this is confirmed, all they have to do is fill up their car using our HVO pumps,” he said.

Skoda is acutely aware that sales of diesel and petrol-powered new cars are scheduled to end in 2035 and recognise the potentially important role of HVO as a transition fuel and a cleaner alternative to diesel. As such, it’s seeking to encourage existing owners of diesel cars and any buyers of new diesel cars to consider HVO as an alternative. Diesel-powered cars accounted for 22 per cent of the Irish passenger car market in 2023, just ahead of electric on 19 per cent.