Have You Considered Using Bio-fuel?

July 27, 2007 | Energy Efficiency

At BoilerJuice we’re looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprints. Bio-fuels could help but the infrastructure is currently non existent in the UK. If it was would you use it given the wider implications such as food for fuel, increased land prices etc.

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  1. When bio-fuel is available I would be willing to use but I think the cost may be prohibitive. I have paid a premium for an effiecient boiler that reduces the oil consumption along with CO2 emissions but heating oil is still my largest overhead apart from council tax.

  2. was about to buy a modern bosch camray bioler – the dealer sugested not able to cope with bio fuel!

    does anyone know better – or which ones can that are effiecint to?

    thanks Mark

    ps what about usind Dick Strawbrides DIY fuel – ie recalim cooking fat for heating- does anyone do it??

    • Hi

      Not only is there scope for reclaiming cooking oil (I am aware of a supplier of prepared paper bedding for cattle that dries the paper using reclaimed vegetable oil as the fuel and currently pays around 29 pence a litre), but there is a new renewable energy plant being set up in west Wales that will take food waste (as most of us are now required to recycle this) and extract a crude blend of oils and fats that they burn as a source of energy. No doubt this smells, and would not be viable for domestic boilers, but I think that it shows that there might actually be more scope for oil-fired systems to be capable of using more ‘home grown’ fuels in the future.

      Looking at the rising threat to gas supplies, maybe we’re not as bad off as we all claim to be!!

  3. I certainly would be interested in buying biofuel but would need to know about the source. What is the point in shipping it from Indonesia where the carbon footprint of transporting it is so relatively high. The dubious environmental nature of deforestation to plant palm oil plantations is well documented.

    I would certainly be prepared to pay a premium to help develop the potentail of these markets though. If the government were to support such enterprize with more than just hot air then perhaps we’d all be winners.

  4. If the Government is so serious about reducing my carbon footprint whilst the rest of the world doesnt seem to be bothering much, would they consider waiving the tax on biofuel to make it a worthwhile proposition. ‘ I dont think so’ which to my mind proves what a load of Bo””’ocks the Global warming scam is!

  5. I already use B100 in the car (recycled cooking oils) & would use it in the House if I could find a boiler certified to take it (Current boiler probably due for replacement soon but is 120000 BTU/h…)

    As for ‘premium’ – I would rather the government offset the extra cost (if any) by reducing VAT and/or including heating usage in the Non-fossil fuel obligation payback (although if i had a CHP unit would that count anyway…?) Any way the cost should be more stable than petro diesel so any talk of a premium over petro prices misses the point.

    As for source – why pay farmers for growing nothing on set-aside when they could use the land to grow fuel crops….

  6. I am unsure why bio-diesel or similar could not be made to work in a standard home heating boiler when mixed 50:50 with standard kero .

    I would not expect to pay a premium for using bio in any proportion but would exopect any extra costs to be offest by tax reduction.

    At the moment I believe you can use up to 2500 litres per year without paying any duty – is anyone using SVO or WVO straight into their heating oil tank ?

  7. Bio-fuels for home heating are just as unsustainable as fossil fuels. I seem them more as a short-term measure to relieve the pressure on oil supplies and reduce the effects of global warming. But in the mid to long term, we have to make our homes much more efficient so they need minimal or no heating.

    We already have double glazing, insulation and solar hot water but our croft house can’t be upgraded much beyond that. For us, bio-fuel would be good short-term solution but in the longer term we either need a house that’s designed to be green from the ground-up or use solar or wind power to provide heating energy.

  8. Bio-fuels for home heating are just as unsustainable as fossil fuels. I see them more as a short-term measure to relieve the pressure on oil supplies and reduce the effects of global warming. But in the mid to long term, we have to make our homes much more efficient so they need minimal or no heating.

    We already have double glazing, insulation and solar hot water but our croft house can’t be upgraded much beyond that. For us, bio-fuel would be good short-term solution but in the longer term we either need a house that’s designed to be green from the ground-up or use solar or wind power to provide heating energy.

  9. I am a biodiesel supplier and I have supplied fuel for home heating. Our fuel is produced from waste vegetable oil and is more than 97% carbon neutral. There is no duty payable on biodiesel used for home heating and it is supplied at 5% VAT. My customer contacted his boiler manufacturer who confirmed that he could run on biodiesel but judging from their response, didn’t know much about it. I use a similar sort of boiler in my processing plant and find it runs superbly on biodiesel. I am currently making contact with boiler manufacturers to establish warranty cover for biodiesel use. The price is an issue! Biodiesel is more expensive than kero at the moment by about 9p inc VAT. However, Kero price is at a low ebb and as the cold weather approaches and oil continues to spiral….who knows??

  10. 10p. a litre to 40p. a litre in five years! Try that on the garage forecourt and you may be in trouble. Just because we are sitting ducks with no choice or alternative does not mean that Mr esso can swan off with his boyfriend at our expense. You are stirring the wrong babies in the wrong pot.

  11. I would use bio-fuel if was cheaper than fossil fuels ,if the goverment are serious about the environment they would be makeing sure is was. rather than pricing fossil lower so that you have no choice but to use-fossil fuel because we can’t afford the better product, and that’s the same for wind and solar,making them cheaper would mean that we can all afford what is best for everybody.

  12. I would use biofuel for home heating but as its likely to be considerably more expensive I don’t see it as viable at present. However, thats not to say that it won’t become viable.

    It would really be best to have a boiler that could operate with SVO or WVO so that there is limted processing required

  13. The use of bio fuels is trendy but only a very small part of the solution. The products of combustion from carbon-based fuels do not become less maveloent if they were bio based. Efforts should focus on burning less, improving efficiency when we burn and cleaning or reducing the resultant harmful emmissions.

  14. I have read through thease messages and by and large agree with most of the sentiments – and therein lies the problem. There are so many opinionated ‘experts’ out there (all it seems in a ‘good cause’) and so much confusion it is difficult to steer a reasonable road through this mire. The government MUST take a lead on this and raising taxes to deter usage is well known to not produce the desired effect. I would like to use ‘alternative’ fuels, make my house even more energy efficient, but the whole process is now totally ‘out of control’ with the ‘fast buck boys’ reaping a ‘profit’ on this ‘chaos’. I think I understand a bit but I feel sorry for those in our society who do not and have no one to turn too.

  15. Fuel produced from crops is not a solution. It takes more farmland to produce a commercial quantity than is needed to grow food. The OECD is very concerned about the use of food producing land to grow crops for bio-fuels. We’re short of grain crops already and this will get worse if we grow for fuel instead.

    Re-cycling waste materials is always a good idea if the energy balance is advantageous (it isn’t always!) and we should be collecting the ‘waste’ gas from landfill, etc to use as fuel. Our local re-cycling depot is entirely heated from this gas (methane) and they run their site vehicles on it too. A farmer in Devon does the same with the gas from his slurry pit!

    It just takes a little thought and a careful look at the energy balance equations (remembering to take account of the whole lifecycle requirements for energy – energy consumed to produce, run, remove versus energy created/saved).

  16. Bio fuel is a renewable resource – fine, that means it does not need to run out and the carbon emissions from burning it are recycled into the next growth of the crop. So far, so good. BUT (yes, you knew there was a ‘but ‘ coming) agricultural land can only grow so much, which means competition for the crop between food use and fuel use. Bio-fuel crops, such as corn and rape-seed are internationally traded commodities which means as demand increases the price goes up. This has a direct impact on food prices as well as the price of bio-fuel.

    Already in Mexico the poor are really facing starvation as the price of corn – the main staple – has risen beyond their means due to American traders buying up the commercial crop for the bio-fuel market.

    As a further environmental downer, the more pressure is put on bio-fuel crops the more land gets turned over to prarie style mono-culture – disasterous for wildlife – and the more nitrate fertiliser gets poured on the land.

    By all means lets use filtered waste oils to supplement our fuels, but long term the only solution is for us to use less energy – wordwide – and spend massively to develop technologies that harness the power of nature, such as tidal, geothermal and clean nuclear fusion (which are currently the only sustainable technologies potentially capable of replacing the large coal, oil, gas and nuclear fission powered stations most of us are reliant on for base load)


  18. I think bio- fuels are the way to go for several reasons not just enviromental

    On the matter of costs – I would be prepared to pay a preminum up to 10p/l if it is produced in the UK, the producer received a fair price and it guarranteed security of supply, with a reasonable price stability. However the UK governments ( of any shade ) will NEVER support Agri produced bio-fuels as they are terrified it would restore farmers

    clout and give them a real market for their products – and no I am not a connected with farming in any way just a cynical realist

  19. I have been reading lots of articles on biofuel lately one of them dealt with ways of treating waste cooking oil for use in cars. I can’t seem to find out if domestic boilers could also use this stuff. As far as cars are concerned it seems to be mostly Geman makes but people claim that some other makes are ok.

    Personally I would not pay a penny extra for biofuel and I am now seriously looking at other forms of heating mainly woodchip stoves. Expensive to buy and certainly not as convenient as burning oil but much cleaner if that is the criteria. I’m only looking at cost, oil is apparently not going to get cheaper only more expensive, the Chinese will make sure of that.

  20. We have a oil combi that runs all the rads and gives hot water in a six bed house.

    Due to increasing costs and theft(!) we recently installed a multifuel cast iron stove where our open fire had been. The model we bought (£600 all in) runs a small boiler internally and 3/4 rads, so we only have to use the oil boiler now for hot water.

    This will change soon as we are fitting a hot water tank onto the end of the system as an overflow and will have more than a bathfull every day!

    We are also lucky that we have many fallen or dead trees on our property for fuel.

    We also make our own bio diesel for the cars which works out approx 17p per litre and are having the boiler modified to enable us to use recycled veg oil in that also!

    So…in regard to paying more for bio-diesel…you don’t have to!

    Do your research over the net, don’t be afraid to ring folk up and ask the questions! This is the only way we will ever beat this greedy government of ours! Good Luck!

  21. Mike C… apart from your inability to spell, you clearly have no idea about science…

    an iceberg displaces a volume of water that has a weight equal to that of the iceberg… therefore, the sea levels cannot rise if the ice cap melts. The sea levels can only rise if glaciers or land bound ice masses melt.

  22. with the price road diesel at £1.30 and I can get biodiesel with road duty paid for £1.10. surly bio-fuel for domestic heating shoud be cheeper than miral diesel

  23. The ‘green initiative’ is the modern day ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’. It was the eco warriors in the 60’s and 70’s who stopped us going nuclear in a big way, like the French did so successfully. A human generation can make absolutely no difference to the global environment. It is another example of mankind’s arrogance to believe that he is so powerful that he can change the planet overnight. Nothing we do today will make any difference to climate change. I don’t want my family’s life style to be eroded even further by the slavish adoption of ‘green politics’ by millions of ecosheep who endorse governments’ cynical taxation of anything un-green. And before any of them bleat ‘So you don’t care about saving the planet for future generations’, I’ll preempt them with a simple answer. No, I don’t, because we are not empowered to do so. The Earth is an impossibly complex, chaotic system which we have no more chance of controlling than we have of predicting the precise postion of every ball on a snooker table after the break. So, greenies, give us a break, a life unencumbered by ecowarriors and more disposable income to spend on our children who will solve future problems using intelligence and imagination like we and generations before us did even without the fantastic technology that will be avilable by 2050!

  24. Suzzanne

    Please could you give me some more info about the use of diesel in the car and converting the oil bioler to run on bio fuel.

    web sites would be great thanks

  25. The site http://www.boilerjuice.com is interesting resource, tnks, owner.


    • If it is for your car have you tried any of the Morrisons Supermarkets, they sell it in Norwich

  27. i always use Biodiesel on my car to help the environment. Biodiesel is cleaner and is reneweable.-.`

    • Hi

      Does everyone know that when you buy Biodiesel from a pump it only contains at the very most 8% biodiesel (but usually about half that amount 4%), the rest is normal diesel!

      I tend to agree with Phil, the planet is immensely complex and mother nature could decide to do away with us all with one massive volcanic or seismic event completely out of anyones control.

      Can we change things? Well, the UK produces just 2% of the worlds CO2, so even if we managed to stop producing all of our CO2 (which by the way would be impossible), the planet wouldn’t even notice. And at the same time the modern snake oil salesmen selling Green Remedies are getting rich either on EU or other grants or by cleverly marketing their goods as the savior of our planet.

      Just one last point, I do believe that cutting down rain forest to grow biofuel IS fare more harmful than burning fossil fuel.

  28. About 10 years ago I worked at a company that made custom batteries for all small and large applications. The owner and founder (Bob) of the company along with a few employees worked on a fuel cell hydrogen and oxygen generator for a few years. After some incredible results that could see an average car travel 500 and potentially 1000’s of miles to a gallon of conventional fuel we were all taken away from the project and it all went quite. We were never allowed access to this work and the owner was cagey and dismissive when asked about it. Less than a year after the project was apparently shelved the company was brought, then closed and everyone made redundant. (Despite the company making profit). Several years further on and by chance I happened to meet Bobs father who told me his son was kept on by the buyer which is a research branch of what was ELF. He also told me the French company paid many millions for the project his son had developed. He now lives in France developing the cell project and is subject to a gagging contract. This is why new technology never makes it to market. The moment a technological breakthrough is made the innovation is brought by large corporate speculators. This is such a shame as I remember a conversation testing the cell Bob saying that cars weather old or new, petrol or diesel large or small could easily and cheaply be converted to run with the cell powering it. But thinking about it logically, it’s really in no one’s interest to develop a new fuel. Governments generate billions from fuel duty without which taxes would rise and millions of jobs would disappear and trading markets would be destabilized. This technology will find its way to market but only when best for large cooperation’s and governments.

  29. Laurence, The following Company may be of interest. H2gogo basically water is converted back to its components and then added to the fuel system, a cleaner burn occurs. This technology is also known by several other names

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