Call for certainty on renewable liquid fuel

Recognition of the potential for renewable liquid fuel solutions in decarbonising off-grid home heating is welcomed but industry calls for an end to ‘unacceptable limbo’.

Industry trade associations UKIFDA and OFTEC, have welcomed the publication of the Biomass Policy Statement (BPS) which reaffirms the role of renewable liquid fuels in decarbonising the off-grid sector but call for greater certainty in the below statement.

The recognition that not every home off the gas grid will be suitable for a heat pump and will require an alternative low carbon heating solution is important because the route to net zero must be fair if it is to succeed and secure widespread support from consumers.

Whilst the BPS highlights the potential of the renewable liquid fuel hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO), which is currently being put into 200 homes across the UK as part of a demonstration project by OFTEC and UKIFDA (more here), the government must go further.

Uncertainty is not acceptable

Waiting to confirm the long-term use of renewable liquid fuels after ‘determining the number of properties that take up an air source heat pump’ leaves millions of households in limbo and facing uncertainty over the long terms costs they may face. This is not acceptable.

Whilst we must be bold with our decarbonisation ambitions, the foundations have to be realistic. The very nature of off-grid housing stock could push the cost of heat pumps beyond £20,000 for some households once the necessary energy efficiency upgrades have been made, not to mention the disruption to consumers. A more flexible approach is surely needed.

The sustainably sourced renewable liquid fuel HVO offers a near drop-in replacement for heating oil at a fraction of the cost of the other options and immediately reduces emissions by 88% following a simple conversion costing no more than £500 for most households.

Our industry is ready and waiting to rollout this ideal solution if the right policy levers are put in place to extend incentives for the fuel beyond aviation and road transport to include off-grid heating. In that regard we look forward to the full biomass strategy publication in 2022.