Campaign-leading distributor first to lift US imported HVO following tariff removal

Cornwall-based fuel distributor Mitchell and Webber undertook the first lifting of hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) imported from the US at the Valero terminal in Cardiff last Thursday.

First shipment of renewable liquid fuel from the US lifted from Valero

Mitchell & Webber was the first distributor to trial the use of the renewable fossil-free fuel in home heating, converting a property to HVO in November 2020. A member of UKIFDA, Mitchell & Webber has also been a key participant in the Future Ready Fuel campaign, led by trade associations UKIFDA and OFTEC, raising awareness of HVO and its effectiveness as an immediate and affordable solution to the decarbonisation of home heating while calling on government to back a wider roll out.

Commenting on the HVO lift, Mitchell & Webber director John Weedon said: “Mitchell & Webber is delighted to have been the first distributor to receive the renewable fuel from the United States, and very much hopes the use of renewable fuels will greatly expand throughout the UK over the coming months.”

Mitchell and Webber HVO Tanker taking first lifting of USA imported hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO)

The delivery into Valero came after import tariffs on US HVO, previously imposed when the UK was a member of the European Union, were lifted in November 2022. The government action followed recommendations from the Trade Remedies Authority (TRA) report that acknowledged the potential for HVO in a number of decarbonisation pathways, including home heating.

Quicker, easier and cheaper

The Future Ready Fuel campaign came in response to the government’s announced proposals to stop new heating oil boiler sales by 2026 with a heat pump first approach. UKIFDA and OFTEC, representing the liquid fuel industry, proposed an innovative approach that will deliver decarbonisation to UK off gas grid homes and businesses quicker, cheaper and with the least amount of disruption.

Prepared to ‘put its money where its mouth is’ the industry is self-funding the hugely successful HVO demonstration project. Since its launch, the industry has demonstrated across 150 homes and businesses in the UK that HVO can be used as a direct replacement for heating oil, reducing carbon emissions by up to 88%. The heating boiler conversion process takes about an hour and costs less than £500.

Ken Cronin, CEO of UKIFDA, commented: “I am delighted to see this fuel being delivered.  We have an ambition to convert as many of the 1.7m homes as possible that use heating oil to HVO, reducing their carbon emissions but also avoiding the very high upfront costs of alternative decarbonisation technologies such as heat pumps.”

Robert Weedon, managing director of Cornwall-based Mitchell and Webber said: “This first batch of Valero’s HVO will be going to businesses in Cornwall. This initiative sits alongside our HVO village, Kehelland, where we have schools, churches and residential homes that have been using HVO successfully for over a year. The process of converting to HVO could not be easier and can be done during a normal boiler service appointment.”

Rapidly increasing supply

UKIFDA recently submitted new evidence to the UK government that showed the raw materials (feedstocks) used to produce renewable fuels in Europe and the US far outweigh the demand and confirmed that there would be sufficient quantities to meet the UK home heating oil market.

The US is the world’s second largest producer of HVO, with the US Department of Energy recently forecasting that renewable fuel production will double in the US in the next two years. With the refining process for very similar to that of crude oil, many refineries globally are switching capacity to renewable liquid fuel production.

Main image shows: L to R Peter Kinney, Senior Commercial Sales Manager, Valero, David McLoughlin, Director Pipelines & Terminals, Valero, John Weedon, Director, Mitchell & Webber Robert Weedon, MD, Mitchell & Webber