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Oftec: 'liquid biofuel overlooked'

The Oil Firing Technical Association (Oftec) is concerned the government’s latest Renewable Energy Strategy has overlooked the use of liquid biofuel for heating.

Director general Jeremy Hawksley said: “We are concerned that liquid biofuel has not yet been included in the government’s proposals to reduce carbon emissions from heating.

“The option for existing oil users to switch to a liquid biofuel and kerosene blend could deliver significant carbon savings at a modest cost. This ties in squarely with the government’s aim.”

Field trials are taking place in Norfolk using liquid biofuel made from used vegetable oil to provide heat and hot water.

Since January 2009, 25 domestic properties and two schools in the village of Reepham have successfully been running on a fuel that blends a sustainable biofuel with kerosene or gas-oil.

The trials are part of a project which should see a definitive industry standard for a new heating biofuel being proposed later this year.

Oftec has been working on the project with the Industrial Commercial Energy Association and Carbon Connections.

The ultimate aim is to develop a liquid biofuel which can be used with existing oil heating appliances, requiring only minimal modifications to the equipment.

This would mean that 1.9 million homes which currently use oil in the UK and Ireland could convert to a renewable fuel at low cost relative to other renewable proposals.

Oftec estimates cost of converting an existing oil fired appliance to liquid biofuel could be as low as £250.

The association also estimates the cost of a new biofuel boiler installation for a domestic dwelling would be less than £5,000 as opposed to the cost of installing a new biomass boiler at around £10,000.