Mitchell & Webber Cornwall to trial heating fuel made from fat

A pioneering, environmentally-friendly heating fuel is undergoing a first-of-its-kind trial in Cornwall.

The biofuel is produced from waste fats and oils.

Mitchell & Webber, a south west oil supplier, is the first distributor to deliver the new, low carbon heating fuel for UK trials, which could revolutionise both the domestic heating market and agricultural sector.

Robert Weedon, managing director, said: “We’re so excited that Cornwall is leading the way in these national trials!

“This is a huge and much-needed step in the right direction for lowering carbon emissions across the country.”

The fossil-free renewable fuel, called Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (HVO), is produced from certified waste fats and oils. Unlike previous biofuels, HVO is manufactured by a synthesised process with hydrogen to create a greener, renewable fuel.

HVO, which has been officially certified as a sustainable fuel by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), has previously been used and tested in diesel engines, offering net greenhouse gas CO2 reductions of up to 90 per cent in such engines. It is also a non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.

Riviera Produce Ltd, a family-run farming company in Hayle, is the first to trial HVO in a tractor in the UK. Mitchell & Webber filled the New Holland tractor with the fossil-free fuel last week, whilst local tractor dealer Truro Tractors also assisted with specialist testing.

Mr Weedon explained: “The tractor has been Dynamometer tested with the new fuel and the results are extremely good – there has been a massive 25 per cent reduction in AdBlue consumption so far!

“This is a direct result of a much cleaner burn of the fuel with lower emissions, hence less AdBlue required.

“We’re excited to see how the rest of the trial goes but the tractor will actually continue to run on HVO indefinitely from now on.”

In the domestic heating market, the first property in the country to run on the renewable HVO fuel is a bungalow in Scorrier, Redruth, which previously relied on oil for heating. In order to switch the property to the new HVO supply, Mitchell & Webber installed a nozzle change and pump pressure adjustment to the oil tank and boiler.

John Weedon, the Mitchell & Webber director involved with the heating trial, said: “We are delighted with how the trial is progressing so far. There were no snags during the installation switch and everything’s looking extremely promising!

“The boiler is working just as it should be and is keeping the property toasty and warm in these winter months!”

Other homes in the UK will undergo similar trials this winter and through next year, under the guidance of liquid fuels trade associations OFTEC and The UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA).

If the trial continues to be a success, Mitchell & Webber will be calling upon the UK government to support a widespread public transition to this fossil-free fuel, with Mr Weedon stating that householders could “convert with little expenditure or capital costs.”

“We are aware that there are around 38,000 homes running on oil in Cornwall alone, however many will be unable to convert to electric heating – not only due to the insulation characteristics but simply the expense.

“Where it can be installed, an ASHP costs around £10,900 with thousands of pounds also then needed to be spent on insulation for it to work.

“Converting to this fossil-free fuel only requires minor adjustments to the boiler making it an affordable and environmentally-friendly solution.

“We hope the government will embrace this fossil-free fuel to aid the country’s carbon reductions,” added Mr Weedon.

Falmouth Packet | News