Renewable diesel vs biodiesel

What is the difference between renewable diesel and biodiesel?

Renewable diesel, or HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil), is sometimes confused with biodiesel or FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester). The main differences between the two are found in their chemical compositions, performances in cold weather and storage qualities. For example, Neste MY Renewable Diesel™ is produced through a hydrotreatment process. The result is an HVO diesel that has a similar chemical composition to fossil diesel. This chemical resemblance enables renewable diesel to be used in all diesel engines in up to a 100% concentration, or to be blended in any ratio with fossil diesel.

Biodiesel and fossil diesel have different compositions, therefore, they can not act as a substitute for each other. The maximum permissible concentration of a FAME biodiesel in a blend with fossil diesel is 7%*. A FAME portion above 7% requires a modification of the engine.


Neste’s proprietary technology 

Neste MY Renewable Diesel is made using our proprietary NEXBTL technology – a unique method that enables a wide variety of low quality waste and residues to be turned into high-quality fuels and other renewable products. Regardless of which raw materials are used, the quality of the final products is always the same. This is a big difference to other biofuels that are produced through an esterification process as this does not offer the same guarantee in quality. As for properties of FAME biofuel, their quality depends largely on what raw materials are used. 

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High cetane number

A cetane number indicates ignition properties. It also signifies how well an engine starts in cold weather and contributes to a cleaner, and more efficient combustion. The higher the cetane number, the better the engine starts. Neste MY Renewable Diesel has a cetane number above 70, whereas biodiesel scores a cetane number between 50 and 60.

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Cold temperatures 

Neste MY Renewable Diesel’s cloud point, which indicates when fuel starts to be affected by cold temperatures, is as low as -22°C. Neste MY Renewable Diesel is made for cold and arctic conditions. This is not the case for biodiesel, as it can greatly be affected by cooler temperatures, depending on which raw materials were used.

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No limit for storage time

Neste MY Renewable Diesel can be stored for extended periods of time, without any risk that its properties change. Unlike biodiesel, Neste’s renewable diesel also does not attract water. This means that with the right handling and storage, there is zero risk of quality deterioration or microbial growth.

Neste MY Renewable Diesel: an overview

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*The European standard for diesel (EN590) limits the proportion of biodiesel (FAME EN14214) to max. 7%. In fact, engine and vehicle manufacturers widely support the development of HVO fuels as a way to increase diesel fuel’s renewable content to reduce emissions without the concerns associated with FAMEs.

Learn more about Neste MY Renewable Diesel