Renewable liquid fuel availability report supports home heating oil market use

The UK domestic heating oil market can easily be accommodated within the overall requirement for renewable liquid fuels according to a major new report. The recently published report has found that the potential availability of Renewable Liquid Fuels (RLFs) in Europe and North America, based on projected feedstocks, will far outweigh potential demand by 2030.

Report on projected feedstocks and demand demonstrates that the UK domestic heating oil market can be accommodated within the overall requirement for renewable liquid fuels.

The gap created means that there will be more than enough RLF to heat the UK’s 1.7m off-grid homes using heating oil, replacing the current fossil fuel and achieving a carbon saving of up to 88%.

The research was conducted by Portland Analytics and commissioned by the UKIFDA on behalf of the Future Ready Fuel campaign. Importantly, fuels considered to conflict with demands for food and feed crop feedstock were excluded from the analysis.

Ken Cronin, UKIFDA CEO, commented: “The industry has invested heavily in showing that HVO, the leading RLF currently available in this country, can replace the incumbent fossil fuel, kerosene, in domestic home heating systems with a small upfront investment by the householder of around £500.

“The conversion process takes less than one hour and results in a massive carbon saving of up to 88%. To complement technical work, UKIFDA set about demonstrating that there would be enough renewable liquid fuel from sustainable sources to cover the total demand – this report firmly confirms that to be the case.”

Feedstock availability versus consumption requirements    

The analysis of projected feedstock availability compared with biofuels consumption in Europe and America shows there is more than enough availability to meet consumption requirements with the extrapolated figures suggesting UK heating oil replacement requirement would be between 0.4% and 0.5% of renewable liquid fuel production in Europe and North America.

It remains unclear how quickly replacement renewable liquid fuels for oil heated homes can be rolled out in the UK depending, as it does, on UK government policy and the penetration of heat pumps in the predominantly “hard to treat” rural housing stock currently on heating oil. It is also acknowledged that some of the technologies covered in the report require further development.

However, the estimates have been conservative and the rapid growth in the HVO market gives reason for optimism. HVO production from 2013 to 2020 increased from 2.2m metric tonnes to 6.2m and forecasts suggest that European production of HVO is expected to increase to 11.30m tonnes by 2025 and in the USA to 12.6m tonnes. Total world production is expected to reach almost 30m tonnes by 2025 – 14 times that in 2013.

Reduce cost by extending rebates

With the report removing one of the two key concerns over the inclusion of liquid biofuel in the decarbonisation of heating the only barrier remaining now is the high cost to consumers.

Paul Rose, OFTEC CEO, added: “We are now calling on government to urgently work with the industry to remove the remaining barrier to allow up to 1.7m “hard to treat” oil heated homes in the UK to decarbonise by extending the current RTFO system that reduces consumer prices for RLFs in transport and aviation to rural home heating.”