HTR.412 'Blues' train stopped at Grosseto in 2022 (Wikimedia, CC-SA-2.0 Gianluca Detti)

FS successfully runs Blues hybrid train on biofuel

HTR.412 'Blues' train stopped at Grosseto in 2022 (Wikimedia, CC-SA-2.0 Gianluca Detti) Gianluca Detti

This month, Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) performed a first, by running commercial passenger transport with a train powered by pure hydrogenated vegetable oil (Hvo) based biofuel produced by Eni, instead of diesel. This biofuel reduces CO2 emissions, compared to diesel.

The fuel was used to power Trenitalia’s Blues hybrid train on a round trip between Sibari and Reggio Calabria, in southern Italy, specifically, the tip of the boot. The train ran for a total distance of 700 kilometres and thirteen hours of operational service. The FS Group began experimenting with the Hvo biofuel on Busitalia buses with positive results. After the Blues Train, which can already run on batteries as well as pantographs, the biofuel will be used on Aln 663 locomotives, on which it has already been tested demonstrating the possibility of its use even on older vehicles.


Eni Sustainable Mobility has introduced HVOlution, an innovative biofuel made entirely from HVO (Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil). This sustainable fuel is produced at their Venice and Gela biorefineries using waste raw materials, vegetable residues, and non-food crop oils, following a circular economy approach for mobility.

Through its entire logistics and production process, HVOlution achieves remarkable emissions reductions of up to 90% compared to traditional fossil-based blends. The extent of these reductions depends on the specific raw materials used in its production, as per the criteria set by Directive (EU) 2018/2001 “RED II.” In 2022, HVOlution reported a CO2eq emissions reduction ranging from 60% to 90% across the logistics and production chain (compared to the benchmark fossil-based blend of 94g CO2eq/MJ).

Sustainability strategy

FS has set several sustainability goals for itself, which include reducing CO2 emissions (scope 1 and 2) by half, by 2030, and reducing CO2 emissions (scope 3) by 2030 by 30 percent by the same year. The company also intends to exclusively work with ESG-assessed suppliers by 2026.

Sustainability is cited as a key aspect of FS’s 2022-2031 Industrial Plan. The objectives of this plan include encouraging multimodal collective transport so as to make it the first choice for travel at the expense of private vehicles and to increase the degree of energy autonomy. FS also aims to self-produce at least 40 per cent of its energy needs using renewable sources, installing photovoltaic and wind power plants in stations and railway areas.

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Author: Emma Dailey

Emma Dailey is an editor at and

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