Cummins HVO

You have questions about Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), we have answers. 

Cummins QSK95 generator set - HVO
Cummins generator sets, like the one pictured here, have been approved for use with paraffinic fuels, including HVO.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a diesel-like fuel that can be produced without fossil resources by processing renewable waste lipids.  Cummins’ entire line of diesel generator sets is approved for use with paraffinic fuels like HVO when used in Power Generation standby applications, providing a simple and efficient alternative to diesel for new or existing fleets of generator sets. This lower-carbon option enables Cummins customers, like Microsoft Corporation, to progress towards their decarbonization goals. 

“Microsoft is a valued partner, and we are delighted to collaborate with them and support their sustainability goals for cleaner power,” said Vipul Tandon, Executive Director, Global Power Generation at Cummins Inc. “Cummins has over 100 years of experience in integrating proven power system solutions with evolving technologies. This experience has provided us the flexibility to meet and exceed changing global standards, as well as the unique requirements of our customers.”

Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions about this new alternative fuel: 

What are paraffinic fuels?  

Paraffinic fuels are an alternative to diesel with low sulfur and aromatics. They are derived from a variety of sources, the most common including natural gas, coal, plant oils and animal fats.

 

What is HVO? 

Sometimes referred to as renewable diesel or green diesel, HVO is a low carbon fuel that is obtained by processing lipids such as vegetable oil, tallow, or used cooking oil, all made of paraffinic hydrocarbon. 

 

What are the differences between HVO and diesel?

HVO fuel has chemical and physical properties like those of diesel fuel, however, its fossil-free composition and low carbon content differentiate it from diesel and make it attractive to those seeking a sustainable fuel option. HVO also has approximately 7% less fuel density, limited aromatic and sulfur content, and a higher cetane value versus diesel fuel. But even with these differences, HVO can be blended and used in any proportion with diesel which allows for ease of transition, especially in standby generator set applications where consumption of stored fuel is low. 

 

Is HVO different from biodiesel? 

While HVO is derived from the same feedstocks used to produce biodiesel, it is produced via a hydrotreated process vs. transesterification process which helps improve its oxidation stability. This means that HVO is not prone to bacterial growth in comparison with biodiesel, making HVO a great, sustainable option for generator sets in standby applications.

 

Isn’t HVO the same as all the gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuels? 

Physically and chemically, these fuels are the same fuel and meet the EN 15940 fuel specification. However, HVO has a lower life cycle carbon emission as compared to GTL fuels, because HVO is produced from renewable feedstocks while GTL fuels are produced from a fossil fuel, natural gas. 

 

What performance is expected when running Cummins generator sets on HVO fuel?

The detailed results of several tests conducted are published in a white paper that outlines the expected generator set performance when running on HVO fuel vs. diesel fuel. In summary, users can expect: no change in start-up and transient performance; up to 5% higher fuel consumption due to the lower energy content of HVO fuel; reduced power output of up to two percent on select generator set models; negligible NOx emissions changes; and significant reduction in particulate matter (PM) emissions and smoke, versus diesel fuel. EPA Tier 2 and TA Luft certifications remain valid with operation on HVO fuel.

 

What changes are needed to upfit existing Cummins generator sets to run on HVO fuel?

No changes or modifications to hardware or software are needed to run approved Cummins engines and generator sets on HVO fuels. Further Cummins standard and extended warranties apply on any generator sets approved to run on HVO fuel. 

 

How readily available and widely adopted is HVO? 

As a relatively new fuel source, the rate of adoption of HVO today is limited by its supply chain and higher cost, with higher adoption in markets where the use of diesel is curtailed. Supply chains are developing to serve these regulated markets, predominantly in parts of North America and Europe. Increasing demand driven by a combination of regulatory and customer ESG targets will drive increased production, which will subsequently lead to increased adoption. According to the IEA Renewables 2020 report, the average output in 2023-25 is anticipated to be 63 billion L, 30% higher than the 2019 level, with over half of this increase attributed to expanding HVO production in Singapore and the United States. 

Here are some additional frequently asked questions about HVO (PDF). 

Learn about the benefits of alternative fuels and fuel flexibility.  

Learn more about Cummins' Destination Zero strategy and our mission to power a more prosperous world

 

Catherine Morgenstern - Cummins Inc.

Catherine Morgenstern

Catherine Morgenstern is a Brand Journalist for Cummins, covering topics such as alternative propulsion, digitalization, manufacturing innovation, autonomy, sustainability, and workplace trends. She has more than 20 years of experience in corporate communications, holding leadership positions most recently within the Industrial Capital Goods sector.

Catherine began her career as a marketing writer for a biotechnology company, where she learned to take complicated and highly technical information and make it accessible to everyone. She believes the concept of “storytelling” is more than a trendy buzzword and loves to find ways for her readers to make personal connections to her subjects. Catherine has a passion for technology and innovation and how its intersection can make an impact in all our lives.

Catherine recently moved back to her hometown in the Hudson Valley, New York after a several decades in Los Angeles and Chicago. She is a graduate of UCLA and enjoys gardening and spending time with her husband and three children.

truck on highway

Natural gas powers more than 175,000 vehicles in the United States and 23 million vehicles worldwide. It’s an ideal alternative to gasoline and diesel for heavy and medium-duty applications. These include freight-hauling trucks, buses, and garbage trucks. Natural gas engines provide horsepower, acceleration, and cruise speed comparable to conventional fossil fuel engines. This fuel can also replace gasoline in smaller applications, such as forklifts and commercial lawn equipment. 

Natural gas engines reduce emissions and environmental risks

Many companies are setting carbon reduction targets for tailpipe emissions. Fleets can meet these requirements by replacing older vehicles or generators that run on diesel to new ones that use natural gas. 

Switching to natural gas can reduce hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The size of the reduction depends on vehicle type, duty cycle, and engine calibration. Vehicles that use compressed natural gas (CNG) can reduce their GHG emissions by 13-18%. That percentage is a lot higher when using renewable natural gas (RNG) or a blend between the two gases. 

Natural gas vehicles offer additional air quality and environmental justice benefits too. They emit almost no particulate matter, volatile organic compounds or carbon monoxide which lead to poor air quality.

There are also other environmental risks that can be eliminated. For example, natural gas can’t spill because it’s lighter than air. It doesn’t puddle or cause ground contamination like a diesel or gasoline spill would.

Renewable natural gas is a carbon neutral fuel alternative

RNG is manufactured from agricultural by-products and organic waste from food manufacturing, farming and groceries. The systems needed to fuel a vehicle with RNG or with fossil natural gas are identical. Both fuels are interchangeable and can be blended. National, state and local incentives for RNG projects are also available. RNG is considered a carbon neutral fuel and it can even be carbon negative when using waste from landfills -that’s at least a 100% GHG reduction! 

RNG provides more benefits than CNG. Methane (CH4) from a landfill or a wastewater treatment facility is typically vented into the atmosphere. Its global warming potential (GWP) is more than 25 times greater than CO2. That makes capturing and refining methane into a fuel for natural gas engines a better alternative. 

Enabling fleets to more affordable engine solutions with natural gas

Natural gas engines meet stringent environmental standards with less complicated emissions controls. As a result, they offer an affordable advantage over diesel engines.

Additional cost savings can be achieved by converting conventional vehicles to run on natural gas. Kits are available to retrofit existing fleets. And automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) offer natural gas versions of their medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

Natural gas refueling stations also can be less expensive to construct than those for hydrogen (H2) or electric vehicles. Their proven equipment and systems are less complex.

National gas also allows fleets to better predict operational costs. The fuel itself costs less than gasoline and diesel. In some areas, natural gas can even be half of the price of diesel. These prices have remained relatively flat for 20 years. This helps fleet operators by being able to reliably forecast monthly and yearly natural gas costs.

Expanding the natural gas supply for national energy independence

The United States has an estimated 2,926 trillion cubic feet of natural gas — enough to last about 98 years. In 2021, 64% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas engines was renewable natural gas. That percentage increases in California, where it’s 98%. The growing use of RNG further diversifies domestic energy supplies. 

Natural gas is readily available through established distribution channels. Supplies are so abundant that natural gas is also compressed and exported. It moves across the United States through a pipeline network that links production areas and storage facilities with 77 million customers.

Compressor stations utilize natural gas engines to keep fuel flowing to distribution companies. They deliver natural gas to consumers through small-diameter, lower-pressure service lines.

Natural gas is available at nearly 900 compressed natural gas (CNG) stations. Another 60 liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations are located in areas that service long-haul trucks. 

Refueling is done at:

  • Fast-fill stations, where natural gas vehicles can fill up in about the same time it takes to refuel gas and diesel vehicles
  • Long-fill stations, where natural gas vehicles slowly fill up overnight or during extended breaks between trips

In summary, natural gas engines can help fleets lower their total transportation emission and operating costs without major disruptions to their day-to-day operations. Natural gas, as a fuel, has a key role to play in our renewable future.  

Traci Kraus headshot

Traci Kraus

Traci Kraus is a Director of Government Relations where she leads US federal advocacy for Cummins. She focuses on energy, climate, hydrogen, transportation and budget legislative and regulatory issues. 

Prior to joining Cummins, Traci worked for former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold.  She has a Master’s in Public Administration from the George Washington University and B.A.s in Government and Politics and Communication from the University of Maryland in College Park. She is originally from Chicago, and now lives outside of Washington, D.C. with her husband, Aaron and two children Liam (8) and Sloane (5).

GR hero

Our planet is facing a dire crisis: carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere continue to soar above record highs. If gone unaddressed, the collective stress of climate change will produce an irreparable impact. Our health, energy, water, and food ecosystems are at risk. 

As it stands, there are many long-term effects of climate change. In North America, climate change is forecasted to cause decreasing snowpack in the western mountains. It will also lead to a 5–20% increase in yields of rain-fed agriculture and great intensity of heat waves. In fact, over the last five years, the United States has incurred roughly $120 billion a year in damages as a result of natural disasters caused by extreme weather and climate events.

Beyond natural catastrophes, climatic risks to the United States will have a cascading effect on the country’s interconnected ecosystems. Reduced labor and overall economic productivity, and altered crop yields, will disproportionately harm lower-income and marginalized populations. These groups lack the resources to prepare or cope with extreme weather and climate events.

The world is investing in clean energy innovation

Combating the intensifying climate crisis requires a strategic combination of research and development (R&D), innovation, technology — and bold attempts.

Around the globe, countries are investing in clean energy to contribute to a livable planet now and for generations to come. In 2022, the US passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes a historic $370 billion investment to address the climate crisis. The Inflation Reduction Act provides tax credits and incentives to power homes, businesses, and communities with clean energy by 2030. The Act will increase investments in the fastest-growing power generation technologies, solar and wind. It will also advance cost-saving clean energy projects and protect two million acres of national forests. These initiatives are in addition to substantial tax credits and rebates offered to families and businesses in the United States.
Consequently, a stronger clean energy economy will contribute to overall economic growth and competition. As a result, there will be millions of new well-paying jobs for Americans to make clean energy.

It is possible to start decarbonizing now

Governmental policy strategies and investments in decarbonization technologies are part of the solution to produce increasingly cheap, dependable, and clean energy.

Strong communities and vibrant economies depend on a healthier planet. As a global power technology leader, Cummins is in a unique position to power customer success by leading during this energy transition. We intent to do so by providing customers with the right technology at the right time, understanding of their needs and applications.

We think of this journey to carbon neutrality in two distinct and complementary ways. First, by innovating zero-emission solutions and introducing them in markets and applications where the infrastructure, development and deployment are ready. Secondly, by advancing internal combustion engines through efficiency improvement and by running them on cleaner alternative fuels for a well-to-wheels solution.

Through Destination Zero, we are advancing low- and no-carbon platforms. This includes diesel and natural gas engines, hybrid, and electric platforms, as well as powertrain components, controls, and related technologies.

Join Cummins in powering a better tomorrow

Cummins environmental sustainability strategy includes goals timed for 2030. Progress toward the reduction of carbon emissions from company plants and facilities — in addition to our products — is in full swing. For more than one hundred years, we have brought technological solutions to market. As a power solutions leader, we will continue to power a more prosperous world for today and tomorrow. Are you ready to consider investing in new power solutions?

Traci Kraus headshot

Traci Kraus

Traci Kraus is a Director of Government Relations where she leads US federal advocacy for Cummins. She focuses on energy, climate, hydrogen, transportation and budget legislative and regulatory issues. 

Prior to joining Cummins, Traci worked for former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold.  She has a Master’s in Public Administration from the George Washington University and B.A.s in Government and Politics and Communication from the University of Maryland in College Park. She is originally from Chicago, and now lives outside of Washington, D.C. with her husband, Aaron and two children Liam (8) and Sloane (5).

semi trucks driving on highway

Propane is a low carbon energy source commonly used in millions of homes across the country for cooking, home heating, hot water and many other applications. It can also be used as a clean vehicle fuel in medium duty applications including school buses, delivery and beverage fleets, paratransit vehicles and more.

Thousands of fleet owners choose propane autogas because it offers many environmental, economic and operational benefits. With new technology like the Cummins B6.7 propane engine, fleet owners can experience the power of diesel while producing less greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants, ultimately saving on operations costs.

Propane is a clean fuel

In testing, the Cummins B6.7 propane engine delivered the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of any propane autogas-powered engine. It will also deliver some of the lowest GHG emissions in the medium-duty market. It is an ultra-low, .02 NOx engine that will meet or exceed EPA and CARB regulations in 2024 and beyond.

For fleets and other end users looking to meet environmental goals, renewable propane is available in the market. It has the same chemical structure and physical properties as conventional propane. It has an even lower carbon intensity than conventional propane because it’s produced from renewable, raw materials. This fuel can be used in any existing propane autogas engine or propane autogas infrastructure. Therefore, fleet owners will be able to easily implement this cleaner energy source in their own vehicles.

Propane is an abundant domestically produced fuel

Approximately 30 billion gallons of propane are produced annually in the United States and about 80% of U.S. propane is produced during the natural gas refining process. Because of that, its price is decoupled from the price of crude oil set by the global market.

Propane is an abundant and portable natural resource in North America. It can be distributed in liquid form using ships, rail cars, trucks and via pipelines. Best of all, propane is an environmentally friendly energy source. When compared with other options like diesel or gasoline, propane can significantly reduce harmful emissions.

Since propane is produced in the U.S., the domestic supply is shielded from global geopolitical and economic shocks. Unlike gasoline and diesel, it provides a reliable energy source for business owners.

Propane engines provide low total operating costs

Due to propane’s widespread and long-standing usage, propane autogas engines are a mature technology. The B6.7 propane engine will be built on Cummins’ fuel agnostic platform, meaning many parts are shared across an array of other engines. This will help reduce cost and complexity to the customer in terms of vehicle acquisition, integration of lower carbon fuel types, and vehicle maintenance.

As a vehicle fuel, propane autogas is affordable and typically costs as much as 50 percent less than diesel. The wholesale cost of propane autogas falls between the price of oil and natural gas, which are the fuel’s two sources. Because of this, propane autogas prices don’t fluctuate as sharply as other fuels, so fleet owners are able to easily manage fuel budgets.

Additionally, there is no need for an exhaust treatment system. That’s because propane is a clean energy source that produces 20 times less nitrogen oxides and particulate emissions than diesel. The B6.7 propane engine is instead fitted with a maintenance-free, three-way catalyst exhaust system.

Due to the cost-effectiveness of the fuel and reduced maintenance costs, propane autogas provides fleet owners with the lowest total cost of ownership. Propane autogas engines like the Cummins B6.7 propane will provide a strong return on investment and a low cost per mile.

Propane engines offer a simple refueling experience

A benefit of propane autogas that many fleet owners may not immediately think about is the ease and affordability of refueling. Fleets can choose from several refueling options. Each one offers distinct advantages that help a company identify and customize a solution that best fits its business and maximizes productivity.

Options range from private on-site stations that are fully scalable to meet the demands of a fleet, to temporary field stations to employ around a site in the field. Some fleets can even use any of the more than 2,800 public refueling stations around the country. Best of all, propane suppliers will often lease the refueling infrastructure to a fleet in exchange for a fuel contract that locks in a set price per gallon for a duration beneficial to both parties.

Fleet owners must consider what energy source will best meet their environmental, economic, and operational needs. With new propane autogas innovations, the Cummins B6.7 propane engine becomes an attractive solution.


Never miss the latest news. Sign up below to receive the latest in technologies, products, industry news, and more. 
 

Never miss the latest

Stay ahead with the latest in new technologies, products, industry trends and news.

Send me the latest news in (check all that apply):
Puneet Singh Jhawar

Puneet Singh Jhawar

Puneet Singh Jhawar is the General Manager of the global natural gas business for Cummins Inc. In this role, he is responsible for the product vision, financial management and overall performance of the natural gas business. Over his 14-year career at Cummins, Jhawar has cultivated successful relationships with a number of Cummins’ largest customers. Jhawar has extensive global experience, with roles based in the Middle East, India, Europe and the US.

sun rising over field

There are over 23 million natural gas vehicles in the world, including over 175,000 in the United States. Of these, 64% of all on-road fuel used in these vehicles in 2021 was renewable natural gas (RNG), according to industry trade group, NGV Americas. That percentage increases in California, where it’s 98%. Unlike regular natural gas, RNG is not obtained from fossil resources and constitutes a carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative fuel. However, the amount of available organic feedstock from which RNG can be made is finite. So, how much RNG can be made exactly from existing and potential resources? Let’s take a look.

RNG availability today and tomorrow

RNG is made from biogas, which is the product of a biological process known as anaerobic fermentation. It’s obtained when the undesirable components of biogas, such as CO2 and nitrogen, are removed.

A variety of organic materials feed the biogas-producing bacteria. In many cases, RNG is made opportunistically at facilities which generate a feedstock as a by-product of their operation. Wastewater treatment plants and dairy farms can produce RNG using sewage sludge and manure. Another option is to process food waste into biogas and RNG. Although only are only a few RNG companies, more are seeking to increase production.

The Argonne National Laboratory’s database captures the total annual RNG production capacity in the United States. In 2021, production capacity was about 660 million gallons gasoline equivalents (GGE). That’s a 20% increase compared to the previous year. This is a lot of RNG, yet still just a fraction. -about 3% - of the total natural gas consumption each year in the country, beyond solely vehicles’ consumption. 

It may be possible to increase the production of RNG in the United States—and in other countries—by orders of magnitude. According to a study quoted by the American Gas Association, the US could have the potential to produce up to 36 billion GGE equivalent of RNG each year by 2040. If all of it was used in transportation applications, it would be enough to fuel about two thirds of all diesel vehicles in the country.

How is RNG transported and distributed? 

Producing RNG is only part of the challenge of making RNG more available. RNG also needs to be transported and distributed to end-users. Compared to other alternative fuels, RNG has many advantages. RNG is, chemically, nearly identical to natural gas obtained from fossil resources. Therefore, RNG can be injected into the existing natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure, as long as it meets each pipeline’s specifications. End users can also purchase RNG from RNG producers and receive natural gas from utility companies. They can claim that they are, effectively, using RNG. In the United States, 3 million miles of distribution lines and over 300,000 miles of transportation pipelines are ready to accept in-spec RNG and deliver it to customers. That’s something which hydrogen producers and users can only dream of. 

How many RNG refueling stations are there?

Finally, RNG needs to make its way into the tank of vehicles. The systems needed to fuel a vehicle with RNG or with fossil natural gas are identical. Both fuels are interchangeable and can be blended. 

However, the network of natural gas fueling stations is less dense than the one for gasoline or diesel. There are about 1,500 public and private stations dispending compressed natural gas in the United States, compared to over 150,000 gas stations with gasoline or diesel. Most of the RNG supply is sent to states with low carbon fuel credits for natural gas. Right now, only California, Oregon and Washington state offer these credits, so suppliers prioritize shipping fuel to them. Fleets can check with their local fuel provider to find out the exact source of their natural gas.  

Businesses who wish to switch their vehicles to RNG often opt to construct a fueling facility on their own premises. These businesses may choose from several categories of fuel pumps dispensing compressed natural gas or compressed RNG. For on-site refueling, most businesses will choose time-fill stations. Time fill systems are best suited for vehicles that can complete a day’s shift on a single tank before ‘going home’ for the night to be refilled. Time-fill stations offer more flexibility and efficiency for fleet managers who can make the most of off-peak electricity rates at night.

Did you know that RNG can offset fuel costs?

RNG can also be produced and used locally. Certain businesses have the option to integrate the production and use of fuel as part of their normal operations. Some waste management companies, for example, gather biogas emanating from landfills they manage. The biogas is refined into RNG, and then used to fuel their garbage collection fleet. This can result in net negative greenhouse gas emissions. The methane emissions that would otherwise make their way into the atmosphere from the landfills are avoided. That’s a huge decarbonization effort considering that methane is greenhouse gas several times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and it’s essentially free fuel for the refuse company.

California leads the way on RNG use and production

RNG made up 98% of the total natural gas vehicle fuel consumption in 2021 in California, according to the government. That’s up from 92% in 2020.

A local waste management company, the City of Perris, operates one of the largest organic waste digesters ever built. Using residential waste such as yard waste and food scraps, it produces about 1 million GGE of RNG every year. Some of that RNG fuels the garbage collection fleet and the rest is sold via an interconnection to the local natural gas network. 

It is not by chance that RNG is so popular in the state. California’s carbon reduction and air quality policies (i.e. Low-Carbon Fuel Standard) have heavily incentivized fleets to use RNG as an alternative to traditional natural gas and petroleum fuels. As other states such as Oregon, Washington and Colorado consider similar rules, the likelihood is high that the appetite for RNG will continue to grow. If you want to learn more, read about the different factors to consider when switching to natural gas engines.


Never miss the latest and stay ahead. Sign up below to receive the latest in technologies, products, industry news, and more. 

Never miss the latest

Stay ahead with the latest in new technologies, products, industry trends and news.

Send me the latest news in (check all that apply):
Puneet Singh Jhawar

Puneet Singh Jhawar

Puneet Singh Jhawar is the General Manager of the global natural gas business for Cummins Inc. In this role, he is responsible for the product vision, financial management and overall performance of the natural gas business. Over his 14-year career at Cummins, Jhawar has cultivated successful relationships with a number of Cummins’ largest customers. Jhawar has extensive global experience, with roles based in the Middle East, India, Europe and the US.

Redirecting to
cummins.com

The information you are looking for is on
cummins.com

We are launching that site for you now.

Thank you.