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Hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO)

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Mars
 Mars
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@mjr and @julianc, we must look at the bigger picture. For starters, not everyone can afford a heat pump. There are about 1.7 million rural homes in the UK that are burning kerosene, and kerosene is probably the most polluting fuel for home heating. These homes can switch to HVO tomorrow and cut their emissions by 88%. Cutting emissions should not be a cookie cutter approach. Different approaches must be considered for different homes. The goal is to cut emissions.

Last year, we ran HVO in the winter bivalently with our heat pump. When I did the maths, we produced less emissions that just running our heat pump (which was fuelled by gas for 70% of the time). And we prevented thousands of litres of cooking oil from entering the oceans, subterraneous water or soil. 

 

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Mars
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Posted by: @mjr

We need to grow and distribute food, more than veg oil fuel.

The production volume of vegetable oil in the 2021/2022 crop year exceeded 200 million metric tons worldwide (that's 200,000,000,000 litres). The bulk of this oil enters the food chain to make donuts, fish & chips, McDonalds, microwave and ready-made meals, etc. About 30% of all agricultural land in the world, 1 billion acres, is dedicated to vegetable oil crops for human consumption, and more land is allocated to growing vegetable oil crops than all the world’s fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, roots and tubers put together. 

 

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 mjr
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@editor those who can't afford heat pumps can't really afford oil either. There should be help for them to go electric, not just leave them hooked on less polluting oil. The oil companies want HVO as a way to keep oil burners installed, so they might switch back to kerosene later. 


   
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Mars
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@mjr, no one’s saying they should remain on kerosene or HVO forever. There are plenty of homes that can’t afford £12,000 or more on a heat pump. BUS only provides a portion of that funding so they have no alternative but to burn oil, which is a horrible fuel.

Let’s not forget that just because heat pump owners can’t see the smoke and steam from their flue doesn’t mean doesn’t mean their heat pumps are green. That will, of course, change over time, but as I type this reply, the grid in the UK is burning a minimum of 80% for electricity production - 90% is some regions with anywhere between 5-10% coal in some areas. That means an HVO boiler is 90% cleaner than a heat pump to run this morning. 

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All I’m trying to highlight is that all households need to decarbonise and some can do it easier than they think. 

 

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 mjr
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@editor of course they won't say that but few businesses are in business to put themselves out of business. HVO is still a way to keep oil burners in use.

 

My electric contract is for 100% "green" which is imperfect many ways but if more did it, that gas figure would reduce. i don't accept the blame for that gas use beyond my area's collective failures to elect politicians (of any party) who will deliver green but I do my best on that.


   
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Mars
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@mjr, most of us are on 100% green tariffs, and it's just an exercise in buying tokens by the energy provider, which will not guarantee less gas usage in the UK in the short-medium term for electricity production. If there's no wind (it's super still here) there will be continued reliance on burning fossil fuels. I think @jeff can probably explain it better.

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 mjr
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@editor nonetheless, even if HVO is going to be used, wouldn't it be better to burn it in power stations and replace domestic burners with subsidised heat pumps? Similar to gas.


   
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JulianC
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@editor I’m not sure how you calculate HVO is “greener” than the grid & hence an ASHP?  An oil boiler is 85-90% efficient. My ASHP COP in cold weather is 2.43, with a SCOP of 3.85. You pick on a few cold, still days to help justify HVO. Whilst still burning HVO which releases CO2. 
I recognise not everyone can afford £12k, but prices are coming down. Octopus offering systems for £8k. With HSBC and another bank offering £1-2k incentives to mortgage holders. 
Octopus Energy have just agreed to buy a huge number of TW of energy from the new offshore wind farm. I do not believe they are using carbon credits - but stand to be corrected

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Posted by: @mjr

@editor of course they won't say that but few businesses are in business to put themselves out of business. HVO is still a way to keep oil burners in use.

 

My electric contract is for 100% "green" which is imperfect many ways but if more did it, that gas figure would reduce. i don't accept the blame for that gas use beyond my area's collective failures to elect politicians (of any party) who will deliver green but I do my best on that.

Do you actually believe that the electricity that you receive is 100% renewable? There were one or more days a couple of weeks ago when the few remaining coal fired power stations were generating more electrical energy than all the wind turbines combined. How many wind turbines do you think that it takes to replace a 2000MW power station, even with the wind turbines producing full output power?

How many wind turbines do you think that it takes to replace a 2000MW power station, when the wind turbines are only producing 10% of their full output power?

 


   
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JulianC
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@derek-m the grid has decarbonised by 50% in the past 10 years. I’m sure you know better than me. There are only 3 coal power stations. One burns wood chip. One is due to be decommissioned. Leaving the one near Nottingham - I drive past it weekly to visit client. Coal supplies were very limited last year but have been rebuilt I suppose as a backup if required. 
Buying “green” electric from the likes of Octopus drives the market to build more eco power solutions. To continue to decarbonise the grid. We can only do our individual bit to encourage reducing CO2. 
I don’t think HVO is the answer. Even as an interim.

Daikin Altherma 3H HT 18kW ASHP with Mixergy h/w cylinder; 4kW solar PV with Solic 200 electric diverter; Honda e and Hyundai Ioniq 5 P45 electric vehicles with Myenergi Zappi mk1 charger


   
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(@derek-m)
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Posted by: @mjr

@editor nonetheless, even if HVO is going to be used, wouldn't it be better to burn it in power stations and replace domestic burners with subsidised heat pumps? Similar to gas.

Even if HVO could be burned in a power station, the efficiency would be in the order of 33%, so even without any transmission losses a heat pump would need to produce an efficiency of 300% to make it worthwhile.

I doubt that there would be sufficient HVO available to supply a power station, and even if it was possible to carry out the conversion it would cost millions of pounds to do so.

 


   
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Mars
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@julianc, I did the maths last winter when we were running HVO and CO2 emissions were consistently lower than the heat pump on most days. I'm a massive heat pump advocate, and I'm regularly trying to get people to make the switch, but the honest reality is that when the wind isn't blowing, the UK's renewable energy resources are limited. So I'm not picking on cold days and I'm not picking apart heat pump COP and efficiencies. I'm merely stating that when it's calm outside, the grid is propped up by gas (anywhere between 70-90%), which means the electricity we're using isn't green, and we're still burning fossil fuels to deliver electricity for EVs and heat pumps.

The grid is getting greener and greener, so the transition to heat pumps has to continue, but for those homes that are burning kerosene there are other alternatives that can make them greener over night while they figure out how to switch a heat pump.

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