Grant supports drive for biofuel to heat Irish properties

With a focus on helping to reduce carbon emissions in properties throughout Ireland, leading heating appliance manufacturer Grant has pioneered a major R&D breakthrough that could help reduce carbon emissions in rural and hard to heat properties by using its biofuel compatible Vortex technology.

Over the past six years the Grant R&D team has worked with third level institutions, industry partners and renewable fuel producers, focusing on more sustainable and carbon saving fuels and innovating its boilers to be biofuel compatible.

Grant Founder Stephen Grant.

All new Grant condensing boilers are future-proofed to use HVO by making a slight modification to the boiler. Older Grant condensing boilers can also be adapted to HVO, the modifications needed can be carried out by a service engineer during an annual service.

Commenting on the R&D project, founder Stephen Grant said, “In the early days of our research, we identified potential bio and synthetic fuels that would both meet greenhouse gas reduction targets and be commercially viable. This began with developing a boiler that could use a biofuel called FAME (fatty acid methyl esters). Our team successfully used a 30% blend of FAME with regular kerosene, although problems arose when the blend of biofuel exceeded 30%. This resulted in increased NOx emissions, issues with fuel storage stability and more rapid aging or poor performance in cold conditions.”

“The breakthrough came during testing and field trialling with boilers successfully using 100% biofuel known as Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO). HVO feedstocks are generally rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, soybean oil, certified sustainable palm oil and non-food oils such as jatropha oil and algae oil as well as waste animal fats.

Even more sustainable are waste and residue oils – both of which are now a substantial contributor to the feedstock”, added Stephen.

While HVO is a relatively new fuel to Ireland, in Europe and the UK it is used for Marine and Public Transport and to power generators. Currently HVO can be supplied on the Island of Ireland by Nicholl Oil in Carryduff, Co. Down and Inver Energy in Blackpool, Co. Cork.

Stephen comments, “The use of 100% HVO can result in around an 88% reduction in carbon emissions and using this or a percentage blend of HVO with kerosene will enable rural and hard to heat Irish properties to transition to a renewable green alternative from 100% kerosene at an affordable cost, with minimum disruption to everyday home lives. In terms of renewable heating, using 100% HVO could in fact provide a more sustainable way to heat existing homes than a heat pump.”

One very important benefit of HVO to the Irish construction industry is that builders and relevant trades can continue to focus on building new houses in large numbers enabling more heat pumps to be fitted.

“Utilising HVO will also help Ireland to significantly decarbonise approximately 680,000 existing residential homes. This will cost approximately ¤500 per existing oil boiler installation when matching and changing to a new biofuel burner and substantially less if the boiler is already biofuel ready”, said Stephen.

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