For over 50 years, heating oil (kerosene) has been a popular choice for homes off the gas grid. Today, around 1.5 million UK households use heating oil as their primary source of fuel for heating.
As part of wider plans to tackle climate change and meet the UK’s net zero target, the Government has pledged to prioritise converting off-grid homes to low-carbon heating during the 2020s. In support of this, we’re proud to be part of the UKIFDA and OFTEC Future Ready Fuel campaign, trialling a promising new renewable liquid fuel called HVO at one of our depots.
The challenge of decarbonising off-grid homes
There are already several alternative heat technologies† that generate lower greenhouse gas emissions than heating oil. But installing them is expensive and often requires extensive changes to properties. For homes off the gas grid – which vary in age, design and construction and often have period features – switching to these low-carbon technologies can be impractical. The Future Ready Fuel campaign is searching for a more suitable alternative.
As a full member of the UKIFDA and OFTEC trade bodies, Watson Fuels is working closely with both organisations on the Future Ready Fuel campaign. Our shared goal is to find a low-carbon liquid fuel that will act as a drop-in replacement for kerosene. We believe this option would be the least costly and least disruptive solution for homeowners who currently use heating oil. In most cases, they’d be able to cut emissions without changing their existing heating systems.
How does HVO work with existing oil-fuelled heating systems?
Virtually all oil-fired boilers and heating systems can be adapted to run on HVO, once some simple modifications have been made. Compared to the expense of installing an entire new low-carbon heating system, these modifications can be far more affordable and straightforward.
What are we trialling?
As part of the nationwide Future Ready Fuel trials†, we’ve converted one of our own oil-fired boilers to run on HVO. A new fuel made from certified 100% renewable materials, HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) results in up to 90% lower CO2 emissions than kerosene*.
HVO could also be a practical way to heat your home. Because the sustainable raw materials go through a specialist hydrotreatment, HVO has high levels of purity for a long shelf life and excellent cold weather properties.
When will HVO be available for my home?
We are part of a UK-wide trial that is looking at the effectiveness of HVO in a small number of homes and properties. The results are already promising, and there are plans to expand the trial in the coming months. Working with UKIFDA and OFTEC, we are hopeful that HVO will be approved by the Government as a route to decarbonise off-grid heating and introduced to the market in 2022.
We’re encouraging all customers to support the Future Ready Fuel campaign to help us move trials and the Government approval process forward. You can get involved in three main ways:
If you’re keen to hear more about the progress of the Future Ready Fuel campaign or would be willing to take part in a trial, you can sign up to receive updates.
Get involved through the Future Ready Fuel website†
UKIFDA and OFTEC are running a survey to gauge how many households are interested in switching to HVO. You can complete the short Future Ready Fuel survey online.
Visit the Future Ready Fuel website† to take part
If you want to support the drive to low carbon heating but worry about the cost and lack of choice, you can write to or email your local MP. By explaining your concerns about the government’s current plans and highlighting you interest in affordable green heating solutions such as HVO, you can help us get renewable liquid fuels supported as part of future policy.
Templates are available on the Future Ready Fuel website†
If you’d like to explore other ways to reduce your overall carbon emissions, our Carbon Offset Fuel is a straightforward and effective place to start. You won’t need to use a different fuel. Simply select our Carbon Offset Fuel option when you top up to contribute to projects that help to counteract your fuel’s emissions.
*Based on UK Government 2021 GHG conversion factors for scope 1 emissions.
† Watson Fuels is not responsible for content on any other websites linked to from this site - the inclusion of any such links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them. We have no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites and you view them strictly at your own risk.