What is biofuel?
What is biofuel?

Biofuel is a type of renewable energy made from organic matter and waste materials and, as it is a second-generation fuel, it eliminates up to 85% of net carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional fossil fuels as well as achieving lower NOx emissions.

Biofuels, which can also be referred to as low carbon liquid fuels, are available in different types. There are some low carbon liquid fuels which are 100% sustainable through to others which are a combination of biofuel blended with an existing fuel, such as kerosene oil. Extensive trials are underway, trialling both blended biofuels (mixing biofuels with existing fuels) as well as pure biofuels, research which help decarbonise oil heated homes and other rural, hard to heat properties.

FAME and HVO are two of the types of biofuel currently being trialled in the UK. FAME, which stands for Fatty Acid Methyl Ester, is a waste derived biodiesel – it is created during the transesterification of cooking oils and animals fats, a process which involves a reaction between fatty acids, alcohol and a catalyst. The end products include a raw biodiesel which is suitable for blending with kerosene oil, up to approximately 30%.

Meanwhile, Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) is a second generation biofuel which is made from similar raw materials as FAME however, instead of using methanol (which is used in the production of FAME), HVO uses hydrogen during its production. HVO can be a ‘drop-in fuel’ which means it is suitable to be a replacement for existing fossil fuels, providing a 100% biofuel option.

Biofuels can significantly help lower the carbon emissions of home heating systems by up to 85%. The Government’s Clean Growth Strategy aims to achieve Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050 and biofuels, alongside other renewable technologies such as heat pumps, could play a part in helping home heating systems to transition to Net Zero in the coming years.

All Grant Vortex floor standing oil boilers are biofuel compatible depending on the type of biofuel and % blend, for example using HVO or FAME. For further information about the trials taking place into fossil free oil for home heating, please click here.