Is HVO the future for rural heating?
Between the government’s promises to radically change the way we heat our homes as part of its pledge to become climate neutral by 2050 and the energy wake-up call that recent world events have given us, many homeowners have been left questioning what the future of domestic heating looks like. Luckily, for those currently running an oil boiler, the future does not look as bleak as you may fear. Read on to learn more about HVO and why it may be the future of heating for your home.
What is HVO?
HVO is short for Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil. This is a second generation biofuel that thanks to modern science, is comparable to kerosene in terms of energy yield, but offers a 90% reduction in carbon emissions. For the last year, trials have been taking place see how it performs in modified oil boilers - and so far, the results are looking good.
A feasible alternative to oil
All the indications so far are that HVO is a feasible alternative to domestic heating oil, with the tests establishing that boilers were able to use this advanced biofuel for long periods of time with no notable reduction in heat output. Based on the success of the first phase of testing, research is now in its second phase, with over 200 UK homes and businesses switching to HVO to test its use and establish whether it is viable as far as logistics and performance are concerned.
What’s the latest on the fossil fuel ban?
As it stands, the UK government plans to ban the installation of fossil fuel burners in new homes from 2025 and existing homes from 2035. Kerosene is one of the fuels set to be phased out within this programme, although it is not thought to be as high a priority as certain other fuels. Regardless, a suitable and affordable alternative is needed - and HVO appears to offer the ideal solution.
Why is HVO so important?
Firstly, HVO is certified as fossil-fuel free and sustainable by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). This means it can be used even after the government’s plans to decarbonise heating are fully implemented.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, HVO has been proven to be a suitable alternative for homes that are simply not suited to other non fossil-fuel heating solutions such as heat pumps. This is very often the case with older, rural properties that cannot be insulated to a suitable standard to benefit from such technologies.
How do I switch to HVO?
To convert an existing oil boiler to HVO requires replacing the existing burner, a relatively straight forward modification that costs an average of £500. At the same time, the vast majority of domestic heating oil tanks are already suitable for HVO, so this will often be the only cost.
How does the cost of HVO compare to traditional heating oil?
Although HVO is currently more expensive than traditional heating oil for domestic customers, a combination of increased availability and likely government support for it as an alternative to traditional heating oil should see it become much lower in price by the time that most homes begin to make the switch. Once the market has established itself, the price should also be protected from the volatility currently seen in energy supplied by other countries and tied to global oil prices.
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