Case Study

Primary school in Cornwall makes the swap to HVO biofuel

A Grant HVO compatible oil boiler has been installed at a primary school to help it lower its carbon emissions
Credit: Mitchell & Webber
A Grant Vortex Boiler House has been installed and converted to HVO operation at a primary school in Cornwall, helping the school to become the first school in the UK to swap to HVO for its heating

Gwinear Primary School in Cornwall has upgraded its heating system and switched to renewables by installing a Grant Vortex oil boiler which is using HVO biofuel, becoming the first school in the UK to use this fossil free liquid fuel.

The Project
Property: school
Fuel type: HVO biofuel
Products installed: Grant Vortex Boiler House oil boiler

In early 2021, Gwinear Primary School in Hayle, Cornwall, made the decision to change its central heating system. The school had an oil-fired boiler which was approximately 15 years old and they wanted to upgrade the system to a more efficient solution while also reducing their carbon footprint. Gwinear School turned to Mitchell and Webber Ltd, a local fuel distributor and installation company, who are proactively involved in the field trials researching the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oils (HVO) in heating systems in the UK.

Why HVO biofuels?
For the school, it was vital that any changes to their heating system would cause minimal disruption to the school’s day to day running and they were also keen to minimise any changes to their building which is over 100 years old. Consequently, Gwinear School did not want to follow the electrification route but instead they wanted a different low carbon solution. Mitchell and Webber worked closely with the school to show them how HVO biofuel could fulfil their requirements, improving the efficiency of their heating, lowering their carbon emissions and by taking part in the field trials, they would become the first school in the UK to have their heating system running on this low carbon liquid fuel.

Being part of the official field trials, the installation to convert the school from traditional kerosene to HVO operation commenced in May 2021 with the system being closely monitored until it was completed in the Autumn 2022. A Grant Vortex Boiler House 46-58kW oil boiler was first installed by Jose and Blackler, replacing the old boiler, and ensuring that the school was always with heating and hot water. Mitchell & Webber then converted the Vortex Boiler House oil boiler to HVO operation, a process which took less than a day to complete. As with all of Grant’s floor standing Vortex boilers, the Vortex Boiler House range is HVO compatible which means it can be changed from kerosene operation to HVO with a few minor changes to the burner and nozzles. The school was also able to use their existing oil tank which was drained of any remaining kerosene and then filled with HVO.

The outcome – a warm school heated sustainably
“We were very excited to work with Gwinear School to help them become the first school in the UK to make the swap to HVO biofuels with their heating,” comments John Weedon, Director of Mitchell & Webber Ltd. “We have been involved in the HVO field trials for many years now, converting the first home to HVO in 2020 also converting the first school and furthermore the first village to this low carbon liquid fuel.

“The new Grant Vortex boiler has created a lovely warm school for the all the children,” continues John. “The boiler and the system are well insulated and controls are in place to ensure that the system can be managed and monitored to operate at its highest efficiencies. Since converting to the HVO fuel, Gwinear School has saved up to 90% net greenhouse gas carbon dioxide emissions so they are not only enjoying the warmth, but they are also reducing their environmental impact. Furthermore, the investment the school has made in renewing their oil-fired boiler to operate on HVO has been considerably less expense than other low carbon heating systems would have cost.”

Gwinear School is very proud to be using a 100% renewable fuel with their new Grant boiler, keeping the children and their teachers comfortable and warm for many years to come. “As a school, we are striving to meet and exceed the targets set in the Green Charter for schools,” comments a Spokesperson from Gwinear Community Primary School. “Alongside the solar panels on our roof producing almost all of our electricity, we also wanted to be as carbon neutral as possible with how we were heating our building and we wanted to achieve this in the greenest way possible. We are delighted to be the first school in the country to pilot the use of HVO biofuels in our heating and we are extremely pleased with how well the new HVO system and boiler is performing for us.”

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