HVO trials signal key advance in decarbonising oil heated homes

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A major step forward in the development of a renewable replacement for heating oil has been made with the start of trials of a sustainably certified liquid fuel called HVO in homes across the UK.

More than 18 properties are now successfully running on HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) with many more sites expected to join over the coming months to create an expansive trial.

The first stage has gone without a hitch and initial results are highly encouraging. HVO provides a near drop in replacement for heating oil, offering a simple to implement green heating solution at a fraction of the upfront cost associated with installing other low carbon technologies.

The first UK home to pioneer HVO, which is made from fossil free, certified sustainable waste materials, was a property in Redruth, Cornwall.

Switching the bungalow from heating oil to an HVO supply simply involved making a few straightforward changes to the boiler costing around £500. This compares favourably to the thousands of pounds it currently costs to install a completely new renewable heating system.

Data shows that switching oil heated properties to HVO would save significantly more carbon emissions in the short to medium term than transitioning these homes to heat pumps or biomass boilers which are government’s preferred solutions.

A renewable liquid fuel solution also means consumers living the UK’s 765,000 oil heated properties with the lowest energy efficiency ratings (EPC Bands E-G) will not need to make the additional expensive and disruptive insulation improvements to their homes often required for effective heat pump use.

Government figures suggest the average cost to upgrade these homes to an acceptable standard (EPC Band C) would be between £12,000 and £18,000 per property.

Consumers need access to a choice of affordable, practical to implement low carbon heating solutions. These UK trials provide first hand evidence that with government support, HVO could realistically contribute to a green future for oil heated households.

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