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Use biofuels for heating, says OFTEC

OFTEC is calling for the Government to change its biofuels strategy and is pioneering a home heating research project in East Anglia.

Reacting to the British government agreeing to slow down the introduction of biofuels for road transport this week, the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) is calling for a focus on heating.

The Government’s decision came in the wake of the Gallagher report which suggested a cautious approach to biofuels for road transport, amid fears that it could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and rising food prices.

Jeremy Hawksley, director general at OFTEC said: “We are urging the Government to take on a new biofuels agenda. The focus now should certainly be on using biofuels for home heating rather than road transport.”

Mr Hawksley contends that research has shown that biofuels used for heating will have a more positive effect on reducing carbon emissions than using biofuels for road transport.

He added: “There is a challenge to provide those off the gas mains with a sustainable alternative to oil heating and initial research has shown that a 20 per cent bio-fuel blend with kerosene (used for oil central heating and cooking) might cut carbon emissions in the UK by 1.5 million tonnes per annum.”

OFTEC and the ICOM Energy Association have joined forces with Carbon Connections, the University of East Anglia and Norfolk County Council on a research project.

The work will cost £0.25m, and will determine how bio-heating oil could replace kerosene and gas oil for domestic and commercial heating oil appliances.

Mr Hawksley explained: “We are looking at the viability a bio-heating oil blend of at least 20 per cent biofuel mixed with 80 per cent kerosene, which would offer significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions.

“The preferred bio-fuel would be waste vegetable oil, which would not contribute to rising food costs. We are also looking at a biofuel which will run on existing oil boilers, so that people won’t have to invest in new heating equipment.”