What is HVO?


The Sustainable Solution for Off-Grid Heating

What is HVOSince the  Government’s Home Heating Bill in 2018, there is an increasing demand for sustainable and low carbon fuel options for homes located off the gas-grid. In the UK alone, there are approximately 1.3 million households that rely on oil for heating. While the government aims to replace all oil boilers with heat pumps ,at MS Cookers and Boilers, we know not all homes are suitable for heat pump installations.  However, there is a promising alternative known as HVO, or Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil.

What is HVO?

Essentially it is a renewable fuel produced from vegetable oil waste. It shares similarities with the kerosene used in conventional oil-fired boilers, making it compatible with existing oil heating systems. The production of HVO involves a process called hydrotreatment. During this process, waste vegetable oils are combined with hydrogen, the oxygen is removed and hydrocarbons are created. These hydrocarbons are then converted into fuel, and the hydrotreatment process also removes impurities. When burnt, HVO emits approximately 90% less carbon emissions compared to Kerosene28 (heating oil). In fact, it is estimated to have one of the lowest carbon emissions among off-grid heating solutions, with electricity at 0.233CO2e/kWh, biomass at 0.053CO2e/kWh, and HVO at 0.036CO2e/kWh. Find out more here.

Can my oil boiler run on HVO?

Well, with minor modifications to your existing boiler, it can be used as a drop-in replacement for kerosene. The significant advantage is that it works well with existing heating systems, eliminating the need for a costly heat pump conversion. You won’t require an entirely new heating system; only simple adjustments made by a qualified engineer are necessary. Furthermore, HVO can be stored in the same manner as traditional heating oil, so there won’t be any changes to the way your oil is delivered and stored. Additionally, HVO is odourless, so you can bid farewell to the intense oil smell in your garden!

Will I have to upgrade my oil boiler?

Now, you might be wondering if you’ll have to upgrade your oil boiler. The answer is yes, but the modifications required are much simpler and cost-effective compared to a complete system change like installing heat pumps. There are a few factors to consider when transitioning to HVO:

  • Age and condition of your boiler: If your boiler is older or not functioning efficiently, it might be worthwhile to consider replacing it before making any conversions.
  • Compatibility: Consult an oil boiler engineer to confirm if your specific boiler model is HVO ready. This may vary between manufacturers.
  • Fuel Delivery: Ensure that your current fuel delivery system, including tanks, pipes, pumps, and filters, is compatible with HVO. At MS Cookers and Boilers we advise you have a trusted engineer prepare the entire system.

It’s important to note that if you are considering HVO, your boiler will require some adjustments to ensure it is HVO ready. We always recommend reaching our to our team to determine the exact requirements for converting your oil boiler to HVO. By embracing HVO as a sustainable alternative, you can significantly reduce your home’s carbon emissions.