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.

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.

At present HVO is more expensive than heating oil and we are discussing with government how best to introduce the new fuels and reduce the cost.

We anticipate that a scheme similar to one used for green road transport fuels could be used to enable HVO to be offered at an affordable price. Even if HVO is more expensive, it is likely to be much cheaper than switching to a completely different heating system.

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.

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. There are no current plans to end the use of heating oil (see answer below), and we are confident that modern boilers will work efficiently with HVO. Conversion to the new fuels 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.

There are currently no plans to ban the use of heating oil. However, to achieve the UK’s and Republic of Ireland’s net zero targets, we must reduce emissions from home heating, so it’s likely that the government will eventually ban the use of heating oil and other fossil fuels.

To do this, government may insist that new heating systems meet stricter carbon emission targets. However, it is likely that government will only consider banning the use of fossil fuels when other low carbon options are affordable, widely available, and most homes are already converted.

Government has not published any plans to ban the use of existing oil boilers. However, the UK government is considering phasing out the installation of new fossil fuel appliances (oil, LPG, mains gas and coal-fired systems) during the 2020s – although so far this only applies to new build properties. By introducing HVO to replace heating oil we hope to make the banning of existing boilers unnecessary.

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