DB Cargo Nederland tests HVO to replace diesel
Another subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn (DB) is launching a trial to replace traditional diesel with Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). This time is DB Cargo Nederland, who stated that the fuel is being tested on the lines to Eemshaven, Delfzijl, and Veendam, in the Dutch northeast. According to the company, DB Cargo Nederland is the first Dutch railway company experimenting with HVO.
DB is already deploying HVO to run shunting locomotives at the yards in Bremerhaven and Munich, since March and April respectively. Moreover, DB Cargo UK carried out tests to operate a Class 60 locomotive fuelled with HVO. When it comes to the new initiative in the Netherlands, the tests are supposed to last for six months. “The aim of the trial is to ensure that engine performance remains unaffected and to confirm the positive effects of HVO as an alternative to conventional fossil diesel”, DB Cargo Nederland said.
HVO in the European Union
HVO is a biofuel obtained from the hydrocracking and hydrogenation of vegetable oil. The European Union is considering HVO as a solution to replace traditional diesel in locomotives. According to the European Association of European Rail Rolling Stock Lessors (EARRL), however, HVO can be a valid solution but only in the short term, up to 2035.
This is because, as EARRL claimed, the availability of HVO at competitive prices for the rail industry cannot be guaranteed when compared to the road sector. HVO is in fact more expensive than diesel. Concerning emissions, HVO drastically reduces CO2 emissions, but it is not as effective when it comes to nitric oxide (NOx) and particulate emissions.