France is getting ready to use rapeseed for heating

Electrification is not the only option to decarbonise residential heating. France is convinced that there are alternatives, and is implementing them.

Domestic heating oil is the 3rd heating energy in France. More than 3.5 million homes use it, , out of a total of 29.8 million. That’s 12% of the stock, mainly in rural and peri-urban areas, which are off-grid.

The French Government has adopted a decree, regulating the installation of new thermal equipment in new and existing buildings (residential and tertiary). It was published in the Official Journal on 6 January, and aims at limitating greenhouse gas emissions from new heating equipment. With this decree, the installation of equipment primarily using fuel emitting more than 300g CO2eq /kWh (lower heating value) throughout its life cycle is no longer allowed. The text came into force on 1 July 2022.

But thanks to four years of collaborative work carried out under the impetus of the French Federation FF3C and according to the government decisions of January 2022 – according to which new boiler-type equipment is authorized to operate with a liquid biofuel such as biofuel – F30 biofuel will fuel the new boilers.

Boilers currently in service can continue to run on traditional heating oil (limited to 7% renewable energy under current specifications).

The installation of new boilers using liquid fuel remains authorized provided that F30 biofuel is used, the level of emissions of which (throughout the life cycle) is less than 300g CO2eq/kWh NCV.

The official standard relating to this biofuel is already available under the reference XP M15 040.

Many equipment references are already available, including: ATLANTIC – CHAPPÉE – CUENOD – DE DIETRICH – OERTLI – PERGE – WEISHAUPT. The full list is available here. They can easily be recognised wit a dedicated label.

Biofioul ready

F30 may contain up to 30% FAME, especially rapeseed methyl ester.

Rapeseed is grown in France. It is a plant available in sufficient quantity, without competition with human food. By producing oil from rapeseed, vegetable protein is also produced, which makes it possible to feed livestock and reducing the use of soybean imports in particular.

The esterified rapeseed derivative, which will be added to domestic heating oil to create biofuel, has good resistance to cold and good storage stability, which makes it ideal. But above all, it has significant potential for reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional heating oil.

A delay in publication in the official journal of the decree authorizing the release for consumption of the F30, temporarily penalizes the consumers’ modernization projects favoring storable energy. The F30 biofuel, necessary for the new boilers, will only be gradually available from September 2022.


What are the next steps?

The planning highly depends on regulations rules, fiscal decision and incentives from the government. The sector is getting ready for the following schedule:

  • 2022: F30 on the market
  • 2024: Deployment of F10
  • 2028: Arrival of F55 on the market
  • 2032: Arrival of F100 on the market
  • 2040: Deployment of F100