As part of its wider policy measures to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) to meet UK, EU and Internationally agreed targets, the UK Government wishes to decarbonise heat generation in the UK, which is responsible for one third of UK GHG emissions.

Under the EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009 the UK government has a commitment to increase renewable energy use to 15 per cent by 2020. To further encourage uptake of renewable heat, DECC has stated that it will assess the case for inclusion of a range of additional technologies that could be supported by the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). One of the technologies under consideration for inclusion is‘the use of ‘heating only’ bioliquids.

Key findings include:

  • The market is still at an early stage of development, and costs will depend heavily on the availability of and competition for feedstock.
  • An informed estimate in respect of four prioritised feedstocks results in a projected renewable heat output of 0.4 to 1.6 TWh per annum (and associated carbon savings of 122 to 431ktCO2), which represents between 0.9 to 3.3% of the estimated 50 TWh of heat energy that could be supplied from biomass sources by 2020, as per the central estimate of the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap.
  • There are reasons to think that RHI support may not be the most effective way to support take-up of this technology.
  • There is a risk of RHI support resulting in feedstock being diverted from other, more environmentally beneficial uses such as pulp and paper production.

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