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Tech Article: HVO100 in Saabs (and other vehicles)

So, recently I was involved in a debate where the claim was that HVO100 was not approved and not allowed in the diesel engine A20DTx – the diesel engine available for both Saab and Volvo. The claim is somewhat correct, but at the same time it’s still invalid. It’s true that Saab didn’t approve HVO100 – probably because the breakthrough of HVO100 comes after Saabs bankruptcy in December 2011. And Opel still being under the GM umbrella, GM that doesn’t really favor diesel as fuel since its an American company.

So, can you run your Saab A20DTH/DTR on HVO100?
Short answer is yes, its no problem… But lets get into some technical details to explain why.

What is HVO and how is it different from FAME?
HVO stands for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil and is made through a two-stage process known as hydrotreatment, where feedstocks are saturated with hydrogen at high temperatures (over 300°C), followed by a stage of isomerisation/cracking to give the end product the desired fuel qualities. HVO could be classified as a second-generation renewable fuel.

An other biofuel with diesel characteristics are FAME, (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) which is created through esterifying a natural oil or fat. However the ester bond present in FAME is a rather weak bond, and can easily get attacked by water, oxygen or diesel bug (microbial contamination of diesel fuel) that derates the fuel. This makes storing FAME-fuels hard.

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