Local schools and homes in the small Georgian town of Reepham in Norfolk are taking part in the groundbreaking 12-month trial, led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).
Like two million homes across the UK and Ireland, the properties depend on heating oil for warmth and hot water, and the aim of the UEA trial is to prove that environmentally-friendly renewable heating oil is a viable option.
The renewable fuel being used is sustainable biodiesel manufactured from used vegetable oil and tallow by Argent Energy Ltd of Scotland. The biodiesel is stored in Norfolk and blended with conventional heating oil by Pace Fuelcare of King's Lynn, which delivers the fuel to the properties.
Fuel blends are being trialled that are equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas.
Partners in the pioneering project are UEA's Low Carbon Innovation Centre, Norfolk County Council, local entrepreneur Andrew Robertson of Clean Energy Consultancy, and the two bodies that represent the oil heating industry in the UK and Ireland - the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) and the Industrial Commercial Energy Association (ICOM).
By working closely with the oil heating industry, the project can demonstrate that every aspect of fuel supply and boiler operation is compatible with the renewable fuel, and the industry will be able to define clear standards for the use and supply of renewable heating oil.
"This is a major initiative in developing lower-carbon heating options for millions of properties, especially in rural areas, which depend on oil-fired heating," said project manager Dr Bruce Tofield, of UEA's Low Carbon Innovation Centre.
"We are very pleased indeed to be able to combine UEA's expertise on renewable fuels with expertise from across the industry to create a unique project that can demonstrate with total confidence the utility of renewable heating oil."
The project was launched and funded via UE
|Contact: Simon Dunford, Press Officer|
University of East Anglia