With the changes to red diesel regulations that came into effect in 2022, businesses have been compelled to explore alternative fuels for their power generators. Traditional diesel fuel, once the go-to choice for generators, is now facing competition from emerging alternatives such as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), Gas to Liquid (GTL), and Solar/Battery technologies.

In this article, we will examine the alternatives to diesel and explain the process of transitioning to these fuels. As experts in generator maintenance, system upgrades, and emergency power support, Broadcrown Power Engineering offers valuable insights into this important topic.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil: A Sustainable Solution

Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) has emerged as a promising alternative fuel for power generators. HVO is derived from vegetable oils through a hydrotreatment process, which removes impurities and transforms the oil into a cleaner-burning fuel with properties similar to diesel.


  • Reduced Emissions: HVO offers substantial environmental benefits, as it produces lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to diesel. The fuel’s clean combustion profile can contribute to improved air quality and reduced carbon footprint.
  • Compatibility: One of the key advantages of HVO is its compatibility with existing diesel engines and infrastructure, eliminating the need for costly engine modifications. This makes it an attractive option for businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint without disrupting their operations.
  • Fuel Management: HVO can be stored up to -32 oC, much lower than diesel, which helps avoid fuel waxing or freezing. In addition, HVO doesn’t carry the same risk of fuel contamination as diesel does, due to the removal of oxygen during the hydrotreatment process.


  • Cost: HVO is often more expensive than diesel fuel, which can impact the overall operational costs of generator systems. Initial investment in infrastructure may also be required.
  • Supply Chain: Availability of EN15940-certified HVO may be limited compared to diesel, potentially causing challenges in sourcing the fuel consistently.
  • Energy Density: HVO has a lower energy density compared to diesel, which could lead to slightly reduced power output and may potentially affect overall efficiency.

GTL Fuel: Clean and Efficient

Another alternative fuel to consider is GTL (Gas-To-Liquid) fuel. GTL fuel is derived from natural gas and undergoes a conversion process to produce a clean-burning liquid fuel. Similar to HVO, GTL fuel can be used as a drop-in replacement for diesel, requiring no modifications to the existing infrastructure.


  • Cleaner Emissions: GTL fuel produces fewer particulate matter, sulphur, and nitrogen oxide emissions compared to diesel, contributing to improved air quality and reduced environmental impact.
  • High-Quality Fuel: GTL fuel has a consistent and high-quality composition, resulting in more reliable combustion and potentially extending the lifespan of generator components.
  • Versatility: GTL can be used as a drop-in replacement for diesel, requiring minimal modifications to existing generator systems.


  • Cost: Like HVO, GTL fuel tends to be more expensive than traditional diesel fuel, potentially affecting the overall economic viability of using this alternative.
  • Infrastructure: Implementing GTL fuel may require modifications to existing infrastructure to ensure safe storage and handling.
  • Limited Availability: Similar to HVO, the availability of GTL fuel may be limited, especially in certain regions.

Solar and Battery Technologies: Complementing Power Generators

Depending on the specific applications, solar and battery technologies can complement existing power generators by reducing their reliance on traditional fuels. While not serving as a full conversion solution, integrating solar panels or batteries into the power system can significantly decrease fuel consumption during periods of low demand or provide backup power during grid outages. This hybrid approach combines the reliability of generators with the renewable and sustainable characteristics of solar and battery technologies.


  • Renewable Source: Solar energy is abundant and renewable, providing a clean and sustainable power source for generator systems, while battery technologies offer energy storage and load management capabilities.
  • Low Operating Costs: Once installed, solar and battery systems generally have lower ongoing operating costs compared to traditional fossil fuels.
  • Reduced Emissions: Solar/battery systems produce no direct emissions, contributing to improved air quality and reduced carbon footprint.


  • Intermittency: Solar energy generation is dependent on sunlight, which can be intermittent and vary by installation type, location and time of day. Battery systems can mitigate this issue to some extent but may also have limitations.
  • Initial Investment: The upfront cost of installing solar and battery systems can be significant, potentially requiring a substantial financial investment.
  • Space Requirements: Solar installations may require a considerable amount of space, which may not be feasible in all locations.

The Process of Switching to Alternative Fuels

Switching to alternative fuels requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some essential steps to guide you through the process:

  1. Assess your power generation needs: Evaluate your power requirements, usage patterns, and specific application needs. This assessment will help determine the most suitable alternative fuel option for your business.
  2. Engage power engineering professionals: Collaborate with experts like Broadcrown Power Engineering to assess the feasibility of alternative fuels for your power generation system. Their knowledge and experience can guide you in selecting the right fuel and evaluating infrastructure compatibility.
  3. Conduct a cost analysis: Consider the cost implications of switching to alternative fuels. Evaluate the upfront investment required, ongoing fuel costs, and potential savings in maintenance and operational expenses. Factor in that, whilst HVO and GTL can be directly switched, fuel tanks should be cleaned thoroughly before refueling to prevent any transfer of contamination.
  4. Determine fuel availability: Ensure a consistent and reliable supply of alternative fuels. Assess the availability of HVO, GTL fuel, or other options in your area to avoid disruptions in power generation.
  5. Train personnel: Provide training for your staff to ensure they understand the characteristics and requirements of the chosen alternative fuel. This will help optimize performance, ensure safety, and enable efficient operations.

Embrace a Cleaner Energy Future

The changes to red diesel regulations have prompted businesses to explore alternative fuels for power generation. Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) and GTL fuel have emerged as viable options that offer reduced emissions and compatibility with existing diesel engines. Additionally, integrating solar and battery technologies into the power system can contribute to fuel reduction and provide backup power capabilities. By collaborating with power engineering professionals and following a structured transition process, businesses can adopt cleaner energy sources and play their part in building a sustainable future.

If you’re considering switching to alternative fuels for your power generators and would like further advice tailored to your specific needs, don’t hesitate to speak to Broadcrown Power Engineering. Our team of experts can provide valuable insights, assess the feasibility of alternative fuels for your system, and guide you through the transition process. Contact Broadcrown Power Engineering today to take a step towards a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.


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