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Volkswagen completes testing of R33 BlueDiesel

In Germany, automaker Volkswagen AG has been testing the newly developed R33 BlueDiesel fuel at its in-house filling station in Wolfsburg since January 2018. The new fuel enables carbon dioxide (CO2) savings of at least 20 percent compared to conventional diesel thanks to the use of biofuels. It also enables major customers to achieve climate protection goals with their fleets.

Volkswagen (VW) has been testing the newly developed R33 BlueDiesel fuel at its in-house filling station in Wolfsburg, Germany since January 2018 (photo courtesy Volkswagen).

According to a statement, an extensive trial involving the R33 BlueDiesel concept has been successfully completed. Over a period of nine months, employees at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg filled company vehicles exclusively with the R33 diesel.

Following the successful test phase, the fuel is now being used at the German automaker’s filling stations in Wolfsburg. A test operation has begun at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter.

One-third renewable diesel composition

The R33 concept was jointly developed by Volkswagen, Coburg University and other project partners. The current supplier since January 2018 is Shell Global Solutions in cooperation with biodiesel producer Tecosol GmbH and renewable fuel producer Neste Oyj, who supply fuels certified according to European standards.

R33 BlueDiesel complies with the diesel standard DIN EN 590 and fulfills all criteria for use as a standard fuel without having to meet further requirements. The novel fuel is of particular interest to Volkswagen’s major and fleet customers whose diesel vehicles cover many kilometres a year as its use helps to achieve climate protection goals.

HVO and biodiesel

Diesel R33 contains 26 percent renewable diesel (HVO, classified as advanced biofuels) produced by Neste. It also contains 7 percent conventional biodiesel (FAME) manufactured by other partners, as well as 67 percent fossil diesel.

Due to its 26 percent share of HVO-type diesel, the new blend offers by far the highest biofuel content of any diesel blend fulfilling and exceeding the requirements for diesel fuels used in the European Union (EU).

The maximum limit for adding FAME-type biofuel to fossil fuel under the EU’s Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) and the DIN EN 590 diesel standard is 7 percent. The fuel has a 33 percent renewable composition, hence the R33 in its name.

A way to help attain climate goals

Diesel R33 is an easy solution that doesn’t need any additional certification on the automotive side or a change in legislation. This blend does not require modifications to be made to the car’s engines or to the filling stations that choose to offer it, said Markku Honkanen, Head of Technical Services, Oil Products & Renewable Products, Neste.

The renewable part of Diesel R33 comes mainly from waste and residues, such as used cooking oil (UCO) from potato chip fryers, that has been filtered and cleaned. The second part of converting cooking fat into fuel is to process it into a paraffin mixture. This is added on top of the regular fuel, on a one-to-three ratio.

The new fuel contains 7 percent biodiesel and 26 percent HVO. According to Volkswagen (VW), the new enables carbon dioxide (CO2) savings of at least 20 percent compared to conventional diesel (photo courtesy Volkswagen).

Following the successful test phase, R33 BlueDiesel is now being used permanently at Volkswagen’s filling stations in Wolfsburg, and a test operation has also been started at the Volkswagen plant in Salzgitter. Introduction at further locations is planned.

Project manager Professor. Thomas Garbe from Volkswagen’s Development department has a positive outlook for the fuel.

The response to R33 BlueDiesel is very encouraging for Volkswagen and its project partners. R33 BlueDiesel is particularly suitable for companies that rely on diesel vehicles due to their long fuel ranges and still want to achieve their environmental goals. We are preparing for a significant increase in demand for liquid fuels from residual materials and for advanced biofuels in the medium term. I hope that public filling stations will also be offering R33 as “Green Premium” in the near future, said Professor Garbe.

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