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Rural community shows how renewable heating oil is viable option


London : Local schools and homes in small Georgian town of Reepham in Norfolk are showing how renewable heating oil remains a viable option.

Like two million homes across Britain and Ireland, the properties depend on heating oil for warmth and hot water, and the aim of the University of East Anglia (UEA) trial is to prove that reusing the oil is a viable option.

The fuel being used is sustainable bio-diesel manufactured from used vegetable oil and tallow by Argent Energy 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 tried that are equal or lower in carbon footprint than natural gas.

“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 Bruce Tofield, of UEA’s Low Carbon Innovation Centre.

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 organisations that represent the oil heating industry in the UK and Ireland – the Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) and the Industrial Commercial Energy Association (ICOM).

Jeremy Hawksley, director general of OFTEC, said: “Results from the field trials have been extremely encouraging to date. The project has also been well supported by many OFTEC manufacturing members who are conducting their own field trials alongside this project, said an OFTEC release.