New EU standard to boost greater use of renewable diesel

By Ron Kotrba | May 31, 2016

The European Committee for Standardization recently approved a new standard for paraffinic diesel fuel made from synthesis or hydrotreatment. EN 15940, which will be published by all CEN members before the end of 2016, establishes requirements and test methods for marketed and delivered paraffinic diesel fuel containing a level of up to 7 percent fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) for use in diesel engines.

Until now, paraffinic diesel fuel, which includes gas-to-liquids (GTL) fuel, hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO, a.k.a., renewable diesel), and biomass-to-liquids (BTL), has mainly been sold to end users in Europe as a component in fuel blends, but the approval of the new standard will make it easier for vehicle manufacturers to authorize the use of 100 percent paraffinic fuel and allow its use under warranty.

“The EN 15940 standard is a milestone and a success for public authorities, fuel and vehicle manufacturers, and above all for consumers across EU member states,” said Jörg Spanke, the chair of CEN’s paraffinic fuel taskforce.

One such beneficiary of the new standard is Neste, a major global producer of renewable diesel. “The new standard makes it possible to sell Neste Renewable Diesel to end users as such all over Europe by the end of 2016,” said Kaisa Hietala, executive vice president of renewable products at Neste. “Using 100 percent Neste Renewable Diesel instead of fuel blends with low concentrations of paraffinic fuel provides companies and cities, for example, a much more efficient way to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their polluting local emissions. Using Neste Renewable Diesel as such reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 percent compared to conventional fossil diesel.”

ASFE, an organization that represents paraffinic fuels in Europe, also welcomed the approval, “which further confirms the availability, commercial maturity and environmental benefits of paraffinic diesel, acknowledging its great potential as a clean alternative diesel fuel for transport,” read a statement released by the group. “The previous prEN 15940 designation, standing for ‘preliminary European Norm,’ already defined the key parameters of paraffinic fuels, but the final specification gives further weight to this standard.”

According to CEN, the new European standard demonstrates the effective cooperation between fuel producers, car manufacturers and other European stakeholders in reaching a consensus on a specification for a new generation of cleaner transport diesel fuel.

ASFE stated that the new standard enables vehicle manufacturers and regulators a more scientific and consistent way to integrate GTL, HVO and BTL fuels into relevant EU policies and legislation, and sets a high standard for paraffinic fuels.

The new standard is expected to come into effect the second half of this year.