BMW Group trials parts deliveries using hydrotreated vegetable oil

  • Pilot projects with renewable diesel HVO100 under way
  • Green transport logistics accelerate implementation of BMW
    iFACTORY strategy
  • Head of Logistics Nikolaides: “Every gram of CO2 we can
    save helps”

Munich. The future is already on the Autobahn:
between BMW Plant Munich and Landau an der Isar, about 120 km to the
northeast, four trucks can be seen to-ing and fro-ing several times a
day. They are operated by the logistics provider Guggemos (GV
Trucknet), their green stickers proclaiming their eco-credentials:
“Ich tanke HVO100, um CO2 -Emissionen zu senken” (“I tank
with HVO100 to save CO2 emissions”). Delivering supplies
just in time from Landau to the home plant in Munich, the trucks have
been running on renewable HVO100 diesel since December 2022. It’s all
part of a one-year pilot programme to trial the new fuel. In March
2023 the HVO100 test fleet was expanded to include another six trucks,
this time belonging to DB Schenker. They commute between the BMW Group
Supply Centre in Eching, just north of Munich, to deliver warehouse
parts to the plant in the city for production – a round trip of a good
40 km each time.

HVO stands for ‘hydrotreated vegetable oil’, and the ‘100’ in the
name of the fuel confirms that conventional diesel vehicles can tank
100 percent with the pure renewable fuel. HVO100 is made from various
waste products, residues and renewable raw materials, including used
cooking oil. Compared with fossil diesel, it produces up to 90 percent
less CO2 well-to-wheel. On average, fuel consumption is
about 3 percent higher with HVO100, but the ten trucks currently
piloting the fuel – also known as “Neste MY Renewable Diesel”, made by
Finland’s Neste – for the BMW Group are expected to emit up to 800
tonnes less CO2 a year than they would with conventional diesel.

The progressive HVO100 pilot project is the next step in the
consistent implementation of the BMW Group’s Green Transport Logistics
Strategy – an integral part of the BMW iFACTORY. Michael Nikolaides,
Head of BMW Group Production Network and Logistics, is convinced:
“Every gram of CO2 we can save helps.” An advocate of
keeping an open mind to all technologies, he added: “We continue to
reduce the carbon footprint from our transport and supply chains
through a variety of measures.” The BMW Group already uses electric
and gas-powered trucks at various sites, and at the Hydrogen
Competence Centre in Leipzig, floor conveyors are fuelled with
hydrogen for everyday operations.

Nikolaides sees some major advantages in the simple use of HVO100:
vehicles and engines require no modifications to run on the
eco-friendly fuel, and HVO can be used pure or mixed with fossil fuel
in any ratio. It can also be supplied via the existing fuel station infrastructure.

The BMW Group’s partner on the current HVO100 pilot project is the
Finnish company Neste. Their hydrotreated vegetable oil is based on
their patented NEXBTL technology and produced purely from renewable
raw materials, with plant oils being converted to hydrocarbons through
a catalytic reaction with hydrogen. HVO diesel is not the same as
bio-diesel, however, which is chemically different and produced by a
different process.

By using the new fuel in transport logistics, the BMW Group intends
to find out how the renewable diesel works in everyday operations and
how cost-efficient it is. “We want to know which drive technologies
and fuels work best in which contexts,” Nikolaides explained. To do
this, a team of BMW Group experts is evaluating aspects such as fuel
consumption with different loads, at different speeds, in a variety of
weather conditions, and over shorter and longer distances.


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