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Bio/synthetic diesel (paraffins)


Paraffins for diesel blending

Paraffins are favorable components for diesel fuel. Diesel fuel itself contains paraffins in addition to other hydrocarbon groups. However, diesel fuel contains also napthenics and aromatics, which are not so favorable for combustion. Paraffinic diesel fuel has normally very high cetane number, no sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen nor aromatics. Paraffins can be produced with various processes from fossil or renewable feedstocks. Synthetic fuels are produced by gasification and Fischer-Tropsch (FT) liquefaction from natural gas (GTL) and coal (CTL). Biomass-based BTL fuel is not commercially available, yet. Hydrotreating of oils and fats is a commercial process for producing renewable paraffinic diesel, abbreviated HVO. Today more and more of HVO is produced from waste and residue fat fractions e.g. from animal fats and non-food grade vegetable oil fractions. Paraffinic components for diesel fuel are produced also from crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production.


  • Legislation and standards
  • Density and energy content
  • Cold properties
  • Cetane number
  • Distillation
  • Sulfur content and trace elements
  • Stability and water
  • Lubricity
  • Measuring bio-content in fuel


  • How much paraffins can be blended in diesel fuel?
  • Blending HVO/XTL paraffins with FAME
  • Compatibility with materials
  • Storage and handling


  • Engine cleanliness and emission control devices
  • Power output, fuel consumption, and CO2
  • Regulated emissions
  • Unregulated emissions
  • Optimizing engines for HVO
  • Field trials
  • Summary





Advanced Motor Fuels, one of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) transportation related Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCP) has prepared many reports on paraffinic fuels: Task 30, Task 31, Task 34-1, Task 37, Task 38, Task 45, Task 52.

Other References

Aatola, H., Larmi, M., Sarjovaara, T., Mikkonen, S., Hydrotreated Vegetable oil (HVO) as a Renewable Diesel Fuel: Trade-off between NOx, Particulate Emission, and Fuel Consumption of a Heavy Duty Engine. SAE International Journal of Engines, 1(2008)1, p. 1251–1262. Also as SAE Technical Paper 2008-01-2500. 12 p.

Abu-Jrai, A., Rodrígues-Fernández, J., Tsolakis, A., Megaritis, A., Theinnoi, K., Cracknell, R. and Clark, R. (2009) Performance, combustion and emissions of a diesel engine operated with reformed EGR. Comparison of diesel and GTL fuelling. Fuel 88 (2009) 1031-1041.

Clark, R.H., Stephenson, T. and Wardle, R.W.M. Emissions measurements of Shell GTL Fuel in the context of on-road trials and laboratory studies, Proceedings of 7th Int. Colloquium, “Fuels,” Tech. Akad. Esslingen, Ostfildern, Germany. Jan 14-15, 2009.

Crepeau, G., Gaillard, P., van der Merve, D. and Schaberg, P. (2009) Engine impacts and opportunities of various fuels including GTL and FAME: toward specific engine calibration.

Erkkilä, K., Nylund, N.-O., Hulkkonen, T., Tilli, A., Mikkonen, S., Saikkonen, P., Mäkinen, R., Amberla, A., Emission performance of paraffinic HVO diesel fuel in heavy duty vehicles. SAE Technical Paper SAE 2011-01-1966, JSAE 20119239. 12 p.

Gill, S., Tsolakis, A., Dearn, K. and Rodrígues-Fernández, J. (2011) Combustion characteristics and emissions of Fischer-Tropsch diesel fuels in IC engines. Progress in Energy and Combustion Science. Vol. 37, Issue 4, pages 503-523.

Greene and Dawson (Eds.) (2007) Safety of Animal Fats for Biodiesel Production: A Critical Review of Literature. One of the three reports within the AMF Task 30.

Happonen, M., Lähde, T., Messing, M., Sarjovaara, T., Larmi, M., Wallenberg, R., Virtanen, A., Keskinen, J., (2010) The Comparison of Particle Oxidation and Surface Structure of Diesel Soot Particles between Fossil Fuel and Novel Renewable Diesel Fuel. Fuel 89(2010)12, p 4008-4013.

Heikkilä, J., Virtanen, A., Rönkkö, T., Keskinen, J., Aakko-Saksa, P. and Murtonen, T. (2009) Nanoparticle emissions from a heavy-duty engine running on alternative diesel fuels. Environ. Sci. Technol. 43, 9501-9506.

Kind, M., Kolbeck, A., Lamping, M., Liebig, D., Clark, R., Harrison, A. and Van Doorn, R. (2010) Dedicated GTL vehicle: A calibration optimisation study. Society of Automotive Engineers. Technical Paper 2010-01-0737.

Kitano, K., Misawa, S., Mori, M., Sakata, S., Clark, R. (2007). GTL Fuel Impact on DI Diesel Emissions. Society of Automotive Engineers, Warrendale. SAE Technical Paper 2007-01-2004.

Kleinschek, G., "Emission Tests with Synthetic Diesel Fuels (GTL & BTL) with a Modern Euro 4 (EGR) Engine”. 5th International Colloquium Fuels, Technische Akademie Esslingen (TAE), January 12–13, 2005.

Kopperoinen, A., Kytö, M., Mikkonen, S., Effect of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) on Particulate Filters of Diesel Cars. SAE Technical Paper SAE 2011-01-2096, JSAE 20119042. 9 p.

Krahl, J., Munack, A., Ruschel, Y., Schröder, O., Bünger, J. (2007). Comparison of Emissions and Mutagenicity from Biodiesel, Vegetable Oil, GTL and Diesel Fuel. Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE Technical Paper 2007-01-4042.

Kuronen, M., Mikkonen, S., Aakko, P. & Murtonen, T., (2007) Hydrotreated vegetable oil as fuel for heavy duty diesel engines. SAE Technical Paper 2007-01-4031. 12 p.

Larmi, M., Tilli, A., Kaario, O., Gong, Y., Sarjovaara, T., Hillamo, H., Häkkinen, K., Lehto, K., Brink, A., Aakko-Saksa, P., (2009) High Cetane Number Paraffinic Diesel Fuels and Emission Reduction. IEA Combustion Agreement - 31th Task Leaders Meeting, Lake Louise, Kanada, 20.-24.9.2009. 2009, IEA.

Larsen, U., Lundorf, P., Ivarsson, A. and Schramm, J. (2007) Emissions from Diesel and Gasoline vehicles fuelled by Fischer-Tropsch Fuels and Similar Fuels. Society of Automotive Engineers. Technical Paper 2007-01-4008. Results from AMF Task 31.

Laurikko, J., Nylund, N., Aakko-Saksa, P., Mannonen, S. and Roslund, P. (2014) Crude Tall Oil-Based Renewable Diesel in Passenger Car Field Test, SAE Technical Paper 2014-01-2774, 2014, doi:10.4271/2014-01-2774.

Liebig, D., Clark, R., Muth, J. and Drescher, I. (2009) Benefits of GTL fuel in vehicles equipped with diesel particulate filters. Society of Automotive Engineers. Technical Paper 2009-01-1934.

McGill, R., Aakko-Saksa, P. and Nylund, N-O. (2008) Analysis of Biodiesel Options. Biomass-Derived Diesel Fuels, Task 1. June 2008. AMF Task 34

Mikkonen, S., Hartikka, T., Kuronen, M. and Saikkonen, P. (2012) HVO, hydrotreated vegetable oil – A premium renewable biofuel for diesel engines. NExBTLTM is a trademark of Neste Oil for an HVO process and HVO product,41,11991,12243,12335

Mikkonen, S., Second-generation renewable diesel offers advantages. Hydrocarbon Processing, 87(2008) 2, p. 63-66.

Mizushima, N. and Takada, Y. (2014) Evaluation of Environmental Impact of Biodiesel Vehicles in Real Traffic Conditions. Phase 1. AMF Task 38.

Munack, A., Pabst, C., Schaak, J., Schröder, O. and Krahl, J. (2010) Measurements with NExBTL and Jathropa Oil Methyl Ester in a Euro III Heavy Duty Engine. AMF Task 37. (final report, Eds. Nylund and Koponen)

Murtonen, T. and Aakko-Saksa, P. (2009) Alternative fuels with heavy-duty engines and vehicles. VTT Working Papers 128.

Murtonen, T., Aakko-Saksa, P., Kuronen, M., Mikkonen, S. & Lehtoranta, K., (2010) Emissions with Heavy-duty Diesel Engines and Vehicles using FAME, HVO and GTL Fuels with and without DOC+POC After-treatment. SAE International Journal of Fuels and Lubricants, 2010: 2, page 147 - 166. Also as SAE Technical Paper 2009-01-2693. 20 p.

Mäkinen, R., Nylund, N.-O., Erkkilä, K., Saikkonen, P., Amberla, A., Bus Fleet Operation on Renewable Paraffinic Diesel Fuel. SAE Technical Paper SAE 2011-01-1965, JSAE 20119172. 8 p.

Neste Renewable Diesel Handbook (2016) © Neste Proprietary publication.

Nishiumi, R., Nakajima, T., Kitano, K., Sakata, I. and Clark, R. (2009) Improvement of DI diesel engine system by utilising GTL fuels characteristics. Society of Automotive Engineers. Technical Paper 2009-01-1933.

Nylund, N.-O., Juva, A., Mikkonen, S., Lehmuskoski, V., & Mäkinen, R., (2006) Synthetic biodiesel for improved urban air quality. ISAF, XVI International Symposium on Alcohol Fuels, Rio de Janeiro 26. - 29.11.2006. 8 p.

Nylund, N.-O., Erkkilä, K., Ahtiainen, M., Murtonen, T., Saikkonen, P., Amberla, A., Aatola, H.,
(2011) Optimized usage of NExBTL renewable diesel fuel – OPTIBIO. VTT Technical Research Centre, VTT Research Notes 2604. Espoo 30.9.2011. 180 p.

Nylund and Koponen (Eds.) (2012) Fuel and Technology Alternatives for Buses Overall Energy Efficiency and Emission Performance. VTT Technology 46. AMF Task 37.

Rantanen, L., Linnaila, R., Aakko, P. & Harju, T., (2005) NExBTL – Biodiesel fuel of the second generation. SAE Technical Paper 2005-01-3771. 18 p.

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Stengel, B. and Vium, J. H. (2015) Synthesis, Characterization, and Use of Hydro-Treated Oils and Fats for Engine Operation, AMF Task 45.

Sugiyama, K., Goto, I., Kitano, K., Mogi, K., Honkanen, M., Effects of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as Renewable Diesel Fuel on Combustion and Exhaust Emissions in Diesel Engine. SAE Technical Paper SAE 2011-01-1954, JSAE 20119313. 13 p.