Liquid fuels trade association, The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) welcomes the report published today from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). Many of their recommendations and timelines tie in with our own future vision so we believe that our members can play a part in achieving the net-zero aims.
We absolutely agree that government support on energy efficiency measures is required – both on and off-gas grid – that encourage consumers to upgrade existing equipment, improve insulation and install smart controls to better monitor energy usage. We believe that these measures are vital in moving homes upwards through the EPC ratings and thereby reducing emissions although care needs to be taken that the disadvantaged, such as the fuel poor, are not excluded.
The report mentioned that hybrid heating systems could be an appropriate solution for a subset of properties, where the type or quality of building stock prevents the installation of heat pumps or other technologies powered by electricity. We believe this is important for many properties off grid which tend to be older less thermally efficient properties with the lowest EPC ratings. Using a hybrid unit combines the higher flow temperatures produced by a boiler, with the efficient operation of a heat pump, to meet the buildings heat demand throughout the year.
We also agree that consumers need to have salient data available in order to make informed decisions about their specific home as the solutions will be different for each home and may be potentially more difficult in rural, older properties. Our members have relationships with 1.5m households across the UK and are keen to play a part in that education.
We are encouraged that the Committee can see value in continuing to research and trial synthetic fuels as these technologies could be vital as part of the future solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Employing synthetic liquid fuels such as this for off-grid heating would also reduce the burden on electricity generation and grid capacity, particularly during periods of high demand during winter when it is considerably colder, and days are darker and there is often little or no power generation from wind or solar sources.
However, we also believe that liquid fuels can play a part in the Committee’s list of core solutions for buildings in the short term. There are a number of newer products and liquid fuels (made from a wide range of feedstocks including GTL and HVO) which are starting to enter our marketplace via our Members. Low carbon fuels could reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions by 87% of their 2015 value (SOURCE: Ricardo Study CONCAWE 2018) and provide a drop-in replacement to current products. In addition, field trials of a bio/fossil fuel mix heating oil in 2010 proved to be successful and we are supportive of new trials this year to prove the viability of this lower carbon fuel in the short term.
The CCC report also suggests the aviation industry could use synthetic carbon-neutral fuels instead of Kerosene, thereby reducing the sector’s emissions to zero on a ‘gross’ basis rather than a ‘net’ basis. As Kerosene is also the product used for the 1.5m off grid homes (known as heating oil) any changes in the Aviation sector could also naturally flow through to the other.
What we need now is a supportive and timely response from the UK Government to this ambitious target, so businesses and the public can get on with reaching it. Government should set the right legal and policy framework to enable industry to invest and innovate. This includes setting the right measures around sustainability and setting milestones in liquid fuel specification to ensure that liquid fuels are changed along the whole supply chain. We suggest that off-gas grid heating fuels (such as bio-kerosene) are included on any obligation or incentive programmes.
We remain committed to the ambitions of the CCC report and would welcome direct conversation with the Committee on some of the points raised and to discuss how we, and our Members, can support the energy transition.