Recycling Earth

The Benefits of HVO - A renewable fuel for oil boilers

For over 50 years, heating oil has been the most popular choice for homes off the gas grid. However, to tackle climate change and achieve the UK’s net-zero target, it is necessary to switch from fossil fuels to renewable heating. The good news is you don’t need to buy an expensive new heating system to do that - dramatic reductions in your household emissions can be achieved simply by changing the type of fuel you use. Read on to learn more.

HVO - A simple solution for greener heating

The liquid fuel heating industry is currently trialling a new fossil-free alternative to heating oil called Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) that cuts emissions by 88%. It is a renewable liquid fuel that works well in all existing oil heating systems following a simple, cost-effective conversion process.

What makes HVO special?

HVO works just like heating oil but is much better for the environment:

  • Cleaner and greener - reduces your carbon emissions by almost 90% compared to existing heating oil
  • Simple conversion - that can be conveniently done when your boiler is serviced or upgraded
  • Low cost to convert - usual cost of conversion is around £500 (exact cost depends on your particular system)
  • Fossil free - made from fossil free, certified sustainable waste materials and doesn’t contribute to deforestation
  • You won’t notice the difference - runs just as efficiently as heating oil in your existing system and it’s odourless too

Trialling of the new fuel is already at an advanced stage and it is likely that the new fuel will be introduced as early as 2022.

How is HVO made and is it sustainable?

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) has already confirmed that HVO is a sustainable fuel that is made from waste products or crops and doesn’t contribute to deforestation.

Will HVO work with older appliances and AGAs?

Yes. The good news for homeowners is that testing carried out so far suggests HVO will work with virtually any existing oil heating appliance once some simple modifications have been made.

Although switching to HVO will dramatically cut carbon emissions, to achieve maximum carbon reduction, it is recommended that you consider upgrading older appliances to a modern, high efficiency ‘A rated’ boiler. As well as reducing emissions, this is likely to save significantly on fuel and running costs.

I’m thinking of replacing my boiler, is that a good idea?

There are likely to be major changes to the way we heat our homes as the measures being introduced to achieve the net-zero target become standard. However, replacing an existing boiler should be a future-proof investment so there is no need to wait. There are no current plans to end the use of heating oil (see answer below), and the vast majority of modern boilers are expected to 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.

Will heating oil be banned?

There are currently no plans to ban the use of heating oil. However, to achieve the UK’s net-zero targets, it will be necessary to reduce emissions from home heating. With this in mind, it is likely that the government will eventually ban the use of heating oil and other fossil fuels.

This means that in the future, the government may insist that new heating systems meet stricter carbon emission targets. However, it is likely that the 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.

Find out more about HVO at

Thinking about a new oil boiler?

Thinking of replacing your oil boiler? Speak to an expert today to find out more about your options. Call D.R. Plumbing & Heating now on 01978 291 923 / 01352 620 125.

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