Liquid heating fuels: A variety of processes

Every Friday over the course of 5 weeks, Eurofuel will present the "Future Fuels" in the framework of the EU Sustainable Energy Days.EUSEW 2021 Labels250x250 ENERGY DAY ORGANISER V02

By 2050, we need to decarbonise heating.

Liquid fuels can contribute to the energy transition for heating and ensure and inclusive recovery. They are a sustainable and affordable alternative for households located in off-grid areas (17% Europeans). The campaign will present the following topics:

1. Liquid fuels for heating: why we need them even more for the energy transition (10 September 2021)

2. What are they (FAME, HVO, PtX)? (17 September 2021)

3. How sustainable are they? (24 September 2021)

4. The liquid heating fuel industry and boilers manufacturers have tested the solution - how does it work? (1 October 2021)

5. What will the sector look like in 2050? (8 October 2021)



#FutureFuelsFriday – part 2

Liquid heating fuels: A variety of processes

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The future fuels are renewable or low carbon: this is why we need them for the energy transition. We hear more and more about them, but what are they, and how are they produced?

Different liquid fuels

Bio-based fuels

Different types of low carbon liquid fuels can be obtained from a variety of bio-based raw materials.



FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Ester) is based on vegetable oil, which is processed with methanol to a liquid fuel, suitable for oil heating. It is already used in pilot installations.

For more information on FAME:



In the Biomass-to-liquid - or BtL- processes, liquid fuels are manufactured which reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional heating oil. The fuel is derived from different types of vegetable raw materials.

The production is made from waste and residues of biogenic origin. The biomass is converted first in synthesis gas and then into liquid hydrocarbons. These biogenic liquid hydrocarbons can be in proven refinery processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in fuels like gasoline, diesel or heating oil to be processed further.

Demonstration plants are available already.

For more information on Biomass-to-liquid:



HVO (Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil) is produced from used cooking oil, residues from the food industry and from vegetable oils which are not intended for food. The hydrotreating of vegetable oils and suitable waste, as well as waste fats, for the production of HVO is now a mature technology and the fuel is already available on an industrial scale.

For more information on HVO:



eFuels are carbon-neutral and a viable way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions via a closed carbon cycle while keeping the fuel in liquid form. They are produced through PtL (Power-to-Liquid) process. This generates a synthetic liquid fuel by using renewable electricity, carbon dioxide, and water. Hydrogen is produced from renewable electricity by way of electrolysis. Carbon dioxide is captured from the atmosphere or other sources. The eFuels are synthesized in a catalyst driven process called the “Fischer-Tropsch” process.

Fischer Tropsch

For more information on eFuels:


The technology is proven and research continues to improve the production process. These future liquid fuels can be used in modern condensing boilers without the need for major alterations. Furthermore, the existing supply infrastructure can also be used.

These products are already used in different private installations in many European countries (see part 4 of the FutureFuelsFriday series). The general use of low-carbon liquid fuels will take some time to come. These products all have in common that they are drop in products, meaning that they can be easily and progressively incorporated to conventional fuels without any major investment to change the heating system.


Federica Miano
Secretary General

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B-1000 Brussels

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