Serco Talick HVO Case Study

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) Helping Councils Become Carbon Neutral

Written by: Helen Franks
Date published: 10/11/21

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Babergh & Mid Suffolk District Councils Switch to HVO

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils have launched a joint Carbon Reduction Management Plan, to fulfil their ambitions of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. One key area of the plan is focused on reducing their vehicle fleet emissions by switching from standard diesel to Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO), a low carbon biofuel, which is made using sustainably sourced waste vegetable oils.

The fleet of vehicles consists of the 35 refuse and recycling collection vehicles which represent 26% of the councils’ total CO2 emissions, equivalent to circa 880 tonnes per year.

Waste Collection Contract Services Goes Green

Serco Environmental Services have operated a shared services contract with Babergh and Mid Suffolk Councils since 2007. With responsibility for delivering refuse and recycling collections to over 118,000 households across the two districts, the fleet of 35 vehicles is operated from two depots in Stowmarket and Sudbury.

In 2021 the councils invested in two HVO fuel storage tanks to make the transition away from diesel both quick and easy.

A Talick Group HVO fuel pump

Serco are committed to both supporting the net zero carbon ambitions of their customers and achieving net zero emissions themselves by 2050. Working collaboratively with Babergh & Mid Suffolk, this initiative supports their environmental management systems and objectives.

‘We have been delighted with how easy the council’s Refuse Collection Vehicle (RCV) fleet switched to HVO. The councils have invested in dedicated HVO fuel storage tanks at each of the depots so we can easily refuel all the vehicles on-site.’

Serco’s Contract Manager Colin Wagstaffe

‘We worked closely with Talick Fuels Ltd to source the HVO and seek assurances of its sustainability and provenance for the councils. I hope that this example of best practice and collaboration will inspire other local authorities to consider adopting the same approach. For us it was so straightforward and delivered instant results.’

Terry Prince
Project Director, Programmes & Transformation, Citizen Services Serco UK & Europe

More About HVO and fuel supply to Serco

Talick Fuels ltd, supply HVO to Babergh & Mid Suffolk via Serco Environmental Services UK.

Talick provides HVO fuel, a fossil-free, renewable alternative to diesel which is ahigh quality paraffinic (EN15940) fuel, with zero sulphur and zero aromatic content.

Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil is created through a process of hydrogenation whereby all of the oxygen is removed from the oil to produce a mix of linear paraffins, CO2 and water. The raw material used is a mixture of vegetable oils and waste fats which are then hydrotreated to create a bio-based hydrocarbon renewable fuel alternative to diesel.

Market trends indicate that the UK will see significant growth in HVO demand within the next 12–18 months as organisations look to transition their commercial fleet.

The Benefits of Councils Switching Away from Diesel to HVO

HVO fuel provides a quick and efficient way to reduce emissions. This is because, aside from slightly increased fuel costs and new tanks, the transition from diesel fuel to HVO requires minimal changes to the councils’ existing fleet.

HVO costs around 10-15% more than conventional diesel, but Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils see this as a worthwhile investment for a cleaner environment for the local community as it reduces carbon emissions by up to 90%.

HVO fuel is odourless and biodegradable, and provides:

  • Up to a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions
  • Up to a 30% reduction in Nitrogen Oxide emissions
  • Up to an 86% reduction in Particulate Matter


It also carries the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification – approved by the European Commission.

“This is an exciting moment and a major step forward in achieving the council’s ambitions as set out in our Carbon Reduction Management Plan.
“Our fleet and crews enable us to carry out some of our most visible work such as collecting your bin.
“With HVO, we are dramatically reducing our council’s total emissions by just over a quarter, and working towards Babergh’s greener, brighter and healthy future. Furthermore, I am immensely proud that we are among the first rural councils to take this leap into carbon reduction.”

Cllr Elisabeth Malvisi, cabinet member for environment at Babergh District Council

“Helping to create bright and healthy futures for the next generation, while protecting the environment, is one of our most important jobs.
“Moving to a greener and cleaner fuel like HVO, brings us significantly and immediately closer to achieving our ambition to be net zero carbon by 2030.
“While we can’t create a cleaner and healthier environment on our own - we hope that by being one of the first rural UK councils, along with Babergh, to move our fleet to HVO, we can lead by example with others encouraged to follow.”

Cllr Jessica Fleming, cabinet member for environment at Mid Suffolk District Council

To get more information about HVO Contact: Helen Franks
Head of Business Development Talick Group Ltd
Email: helen.franks@talick.com
Mob: 07960-711-678

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