Cornish school thriving after 'successful' trial using vegetable oil to heat premises

  • Watch Kathy Wardle's report


A school in Cornwall is thriving as part of a year-long trial to be powered using vegetable oil to heat its premises.

Kehelland Village School has cut its costs by a third by using Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) in its boilers.

Headteacher Ellie Watkins said: "It’s really, really successful with us. It runs everything and the process of installing it and running on it has been so simple.

"It’s become really cost-effective for us and really helped us.

"As an added bonus we spend a lot of time on our curriculum teaching our children to be environmentally friendly but now we can say that actually, we’re practising what we preach."

Pupils at the 130-year-old school are also supportive of the move towards renewable heating.

One student said: "It’s quite shocking that we using something that we normally would use to cook to heat a building but I think it’s actually quite amazing."

Ellie Watkins, the headteacher at Kehelland, said the school has cut costs by a third thanks to the HVO Credit: ITV News

Another pupil said: "If it does go into cooking and running every house or school then I’m really into it."

Kehelland resident, Dave Biggs, had his oil boiler converted to use HVO a year ago.

He said: "The fuel itself is brilliant. There's no smell, it's not carcinogenic and there are no side effects.

"We burn less of it to get the same amount of heat and it really ticks all the boxes and, of course, we reduce our C02 emissions by 90%."

Earlier today (11 January) Camborne and Redruth MP, George Eustice, called on the Government to incentivise the use of HVO in domestic boilers - removing current duty rates to make it cheaper.

He has been putting forward proposals to get more rural households to heat their homes with vegetable oil.

Kehelland resident Dave Biggs had his oil boiler converted to use HVO a year ago Credit: ITV News

A bill that would remove duties on renewable liquid heating fuels and encourage people to switch from using kerosene was put before parliament.

He said: "For a cost of a few hundred pounds to put in place a new nozzle and make some minor adjustments to their existing boiler they can continue to run their boiler as now but on a different fuel that's got far fewer carbon emissions.

"I think it's way better to do that than to pursue what the Government is currently proposing which is that you'd have to scrap all of those boilers, scrap all the radiator systems and have a brand new air source heat pump system that won't be right for all properties."

The pilot scheme in Kehelland is being run by fuel distributor Mitchell & Webber as part of a national project to use the heating method in the village.

John Weedon, from Mitchell & Webber, said: "We were the first company to put it into a home in Cornwall.

"Cornwall has the first home that's been running on it since November 2020 and it will actually produce a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions and it's a very cost-effective way of doing it."


Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…