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NNFCC: Biodiesel could replace fossil heating oils

Biodiesel has the potential to replace fossil-based heating oils, according to a new report by the UK Government and written by the UK's National Centre for Biorenewable Energy, Fuels and Materials (NNFCC).

These non-renewable oils currently heat more than 1 million homes in the UK. Liquid fuels made from biomass (bioliquids), however, can be used to replace fossil-based fuels such as kerosene. They can reduce fuel bills and greenhouse gas emissions, but this could come at a price.

As a result, under the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), the NNFCC investigated the most suitable bioliquid heat only technologies, and their costs. The study looked at a variety of bioliquids which could be used for heating fuel, either now or in the near-term. These include vegetable oil, biodiesel and used cooking oil.

'Due to the physical properties of bioliquids they cannot be simply dropped-in to conventional boilers; instead we can either convert existing boilers to use bioliquids or build completely new dedicated boiliquid heat plants,' says Fiona McDermott, Biomass Research Officer at the NNFCC and author of the report.

'We found the biggest market opportunity for bioliquids was with existing domestic oil users, primarily those off the gas-grid with a smaller secondary market potential in industrial heat plants.'

According to NNFCC's report, biodiesel will soon become a popular bioliquid due to its higher and more consistent quality than vegetable oil or used cooking oils.