Winner of UKIFDA Innovation Award announced

Cornwall-based liquid fuel distributor for the South-West Mitchell & Webber has won the UKIFDA Innovation Award for being at the forefront of the sector’s Future Fuels campaign and for making a real difference in the industry’s drive to make renewable liquid fuel a viable alternative to heating oil for off the gas grid properties.
Sponsored by industry trade magazine Fuel Oil News, UKIFDA launched the Innovation Award in 2021 to find and commend the one thing that makes the industry stand out – and will always support the most innovative products, services, or initiatives.

Left to right John Weedon & Robert Weedon, directors of Mitchell & Webber

“Our Innovation Award is for the person or company that has made the most significant, innovative, and positive contribution to our industry over the past year – and we were delighted to present UKIFDA member, Mitchell & Webber with the UKIFDA Innovation Award on the first day of this year’s virtual UKIFDA EXPO & Future Fuels Conference,” says Ken Cronin, UKIFDA chief executive.
“It really is incredible and so impressive to witness all that Mitchell & Webber has achieved during the past 12 months – they have been at the forefront of driving our Future Fuels campaign and not only converted a number of homes to renewable liquid fuel, HVO, in Cornwall but also a church and a school, highlighting the promising potential of this renewable liquid fuel to replace oil heating in properties and homes currently reliant on fossil fuel.”
Involved since the start with UKIFDA and fellow trade association OFTEC with the drive to a renewable fuel alternative, Mitchell & Webber understands that this is one of the most important matters for the future of the liquid fuel distribution industry.
Mitchell & Webber directors Robert and John Weedon have been in discussions with their local MP, Secretary of State for the Environment George Eustace, over the future directions for homes, since 2018.
John Weedon comments: “We are so happy to have won the Innovation Award this year – it means a great deal to us and it’s fantastic to have our determination and hard work recognised.
“We’re delighted to be the first fuel distributor in the UK to have started the HVO trials in homes – when the idea was first raised, we moved heaven and earth to ensure we could not only be involved but were able to lead the way and really prove the potential of hydrotreated vegetable oil or HVO as an eco-friendly alternative to heating oil.
“Our aim was to show the extent of how useful HVO could be in the bid to achieve net zero and so we tested a wide range of appliances, including AGAs, old boilers, low NOx boilers and Rayburns, to check the renewable fuel works with all of them – and it does.
“One of our proudest moments was after we had converted Gwinear Primary School in Cornwall, George Eustace MP visited the school to see for himself how HVO works in practice – and he acknowledged the importance of this step in achieving a low-carbon alternative heating fuel for older, rural properties.”
The HVO trials have been a success since their launch in November 2020 and have highlighted not only the green credentials of this renewable fuel, as it offers net greenhouse gas CO2 reductions of up to 90%, but also its convenience. In most conversions, only the nozzle needs to be changed and the pressure adjusted on the boiler to enable the system to run on HVO.
Robert Weedon adds: “Winning the Innovation Award has topped off an already brilliant year for us and our industry – and we’re so pleased that Cornwall is leading the way with HVO and leading the way with the greener fuel that is a potential alternative for every oil-reliant home.
“We will continue to update the Government on the success of the HVO trials, together with UKIFDA and OFTEC, and hope HVO will soon be welcomed as a replacement to fossil fuel in rural buildings.”
Ken Cronin concludes: “Mitchell & Webber are really worthy winners of our new Innovation Award and we look forward to our continued working relationship with them as we expand the HVO trials and further campaign government for full support for renewable liquid fuels to decarbonise domestic heating.
“Our congratulations also go to the runners-up for the UKIFDA Innovation Award 2021 – Eliminox and Crown Oil – who have made significant contributions to our sector over the last year.
“It was lovely celebrating with everyone during UKIFDA EXPO and we look forward to another successful and progressive year.”
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