Frequently asked questions
HVO, is a renewable liquid fuel made from certified waste fats and oils and manufactured by a synthesised process with hydrogen to create a greener, cleaner fuel.
The ISCC (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) confirms HVO is a sustainable fuel that is made from waste products or crops and doesn’t contribute to deforestation.
Properties that convert from oil heating to HVO will immediately benefit from an 88% reduction in carbon emissions. This figure is based on the UK Government’s Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP 10.2) and is a consistent methodology for apportioning an equivalent carbon emission factor based upon common greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from home heating fuels.
While we of course advocate for full decarbonisation where possible, it’s important to note that the term ‘net zero’ is not an absolute figure and it accounts for variation across the entire UK economy.
For example, it will be impossible to make some off-grid buildings suitable for zero carbon heating, while for others it may be feasible but not cost effective.
HVO allows almost any off-grid building to get very close to the target and can be seen both as a final solution or as a stepping stone, depending on the situation.
Renewable liquid fuel is a globally produced and traded commodity and there is currently still palm in the supply chain. However, the development of stringent environmental and sustainability standards means this has diminished dramatically.
For example, a leading HVO producer has stated that palm feedstock accounts for only 5% of the HVO produced and none of this product is used in the UK or Europe. The UK Government’s own monitoring states that no palm product is used in imported HVO.
We hope to introduce the new fuel in 2022, subject to the completion of successful trials and obtaining government approval to use HVO as a heating fuel. Our aim is to then enable existing oil heating users to convert to the new fuel gradually during the 2020s and 2030s.
Renewable solutions tend to be more expensive when they are first introduced to the market and HVO is no exception.
We are currently discussing with government how best to introduce the new fuel for heating and have proposed a similar price support model to one currently used for green road transport fuels.
This would ensure households are protected from excessive running costs. Once the HVO market is mature we expect prices to normalise and support should no longer be required.
Demand for renewable liquid fuels is increasing – and so is the supply of waste materials to manufacture them. Large quantities of biodiesel are already used in transport fuels and as electric vehicles become more common, the raw materials can be used to make HVO instead.
Production of HVO is forecast to rise by over 300% in Europe alone between 2020 and 2025 and expected to increase as fast, or even faster, elsewhere in the world. We have spoken to all of the main European and US HVO suppliers and they have confirmed that their plans to increase production would meet our requirements.
We are working with Government to ensure that there are clear policies in place to encourage supply as demand grows and reduce costs.
It is likely that the UK will always rely on imported fuel as there isn’t enough waste material available domestically to make all the fuel needed for the heating and transport markets. This is no different to the situation now with existing fuels.
However, government could introduce measures to improve UK waste capture and fuel production capacity which, for some fuel types, lags behind other countries in Europe.
Yes. Testing carried out so far suggests HVO will work with virtually any existing oil heating appliance once some simple modifications have been made.
In all cases the use of HVO will dramatically cut carbon emissions, but to achieve maximum carbon reduction, we recommend upgrading older appliances to a modern, high efficiency ‘A rated’ boiler. This is likely to save significantly on fuel and running costs.
Please note: HVO will not combust in a traditional vaporising sleeve burner that use wicks. The burner will need to be replaced with a ‘pot’ burner and the oil control valve recalibrated for the new fuel.
Our trials to date suggest this is possible and there should be no reason why HVO cannot be stored in the tank you have, as long as it is well maintained.
We will be asking customers to reduce their kerosene levels to as low as possible before making the swap and may recommend having the inside of the tank cleaned as part of the conversion process.
As part of any swap from Kerosene to HVO we will be strongly recommending that HVO is not introduced to existing storage installations which do not have secondary containment and/or are over 20 years of age.
If you are transitioning from oil to HVO, it may be an ideal opportunity though for you to consider upgrading the tank in your garden and installing a bunded oil tank, which is a tank within a leak proof area or a double skinned oil tank. A bunded tank offers an extra layer of protection for homeowners against costly accidental oil spillages, theft, and environmental concerns.
Changes to the way we heat our homes must happen if we are to achieve the net zero target. However, replacing an existing boiler should be a future-proof investment. Boilers can continue to be purchased until at least 2026 (see answer below), and we are confident that modern boilers will work efficiently with HVO. Conversion to the new fuel is expected to be straightforward and inexpensive.
It is also worth remembering that, even if you continue to use fossil fuels, updating your existing system with a high efficiency condensing boiler will almost certainly reduce your energy bills – and your emissions – often by a substantial amount.
As part of its Heat and Buildings Strategy, in a consultation announced by BEIS on 19th October 2021, the government announced that it is “considering whether it would be appropriate to reinforce the regulatory framework by signalling an end date for the use of any remaining fossil fuel heating systems in homes off the gas grid”. This would include the use of heating oil, but is likely to be no earlier than the late 2030s to avoid any boilers purchased before 2026 (see answer below) being scrapped before they need to be replaced.
If an eventual end date for the use of kerosene is necessary, adequate time should be allowed for households to switch to HVO, or other low carbon heating systems, and that decision should take into all of the important technical and practical considerations but also carbon reduction potential, cost to the consumer and amount of disruption.
As part of its Heat and Buildings Strategy, in a consultation announced by BEIS on 19th October 2021, the government proposed “an end to new fossil fuel heating installations in homes off the gas grid from 2026”.
We think it should be permissible to continue to install liquid fuel boiler systems after 2026, providing they run on HVO or another similar low carbon fuel. We encourage all households that currently use oil to consider responding to the consultation, which ends on 12th January 2022.
The process for converting existing oil boilers to HVO typically costs around £500 and includes removing fossil fuel residues, water and contaminates from the storage tank, replacing the burner with an HVO specific burner, changing nozzles, and ensuring that all fuel carrying components and seals are checked for compatibility.
Yes. The fuel specification states that HVO remains operable in temperatures as low as -22°.