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How “drop-in” renewable liquid fuels could transform off-grid heating and DHW for building services and consultants

Rinnai’s Chris Goggin looks ahead to the advent of renewable liquid fuels in the mass markets.

DME combusts cleanly and releases no “soot” emissions and contains many fuel properties that make it easily used in sites and appliances using diesel. it possesses a very high cetane number which is a measure of the fuel’s ignitibility in compression ignition engines.

As fossil fuel consumption is gradually diminishing from global energy options, the UK will have to locate and utilise alternative energies, some of which will be entirely unfamiliar to British customers. One of these future and somewhat unfamiliar fuel sources will be Renewable & Recycled Carbon Dimethyl Ether (DME).

DME is a sustainable fuel that can be produced through a wide range of renewable feedstocks such as waste which allows for quick and long-term sustainable production. DME is chemically similar to LPG and can be blended, ‘dropped in’, to existing supply LPG chains, without the need to modify equipment which is a major plus for existing systems and appliances. DME can also be used on its own, as a 100% pure fuel, particularly for industrial or commercial users.

DME combusts cleanly and releases no “soot” emissions and contains many fuel properties that make it easily used in sites and appliances using diesel. it possesses a very high cetane number which is a measure of the fuel’s ignitibility in compression ignition engines.

DME is safe and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 85% thus better improving local air quality when compared to traditional fuels. NOx, SOx and PM readings are all heavily reduced through the implementation of DME. Future capacity of European DME production is set to rise sharply in an approaching time frame further increasing the likelihood of it being introduced nationally at some stage soon.

Netherlands-based renewable and recycled carbon DME producer Dimeta is a collaborative effort by two of the world’s leading LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) distributors, SHV Energy and UGI International.  Dimeta is at the forefront of contributing to a more sustainable future and increasing access to affordable low-carbon energy by spearheading the production and use of Renewable and Recycled Carbon DME commercially to decarbonize the LPG industry in the UK, Europe and United States.

Dimeta and Rinnai aim to raise customer understanding of both renewable and recycled carbon DME whilst promoting their usage for on off-grid properties. Dimeta is contributing towards the standardization of DME boilers and DME water heaters by assisting in defining UK manufacturing values. Centralized industry standards are to be cleared by regulators later this year. By 2024 boilers that accept renewable and recycled carbon DME could be ready to purchase.

Rinnai and Dimeta have signed a MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). Both companies will work together to explore blending DME with LPG and used in existing appliances. Dimeta and Rinnai will also aim to develop 100% DME dedicated appliances, including RDME water heaters, RDME boilers and Hybrid RDME heating systems.

The collaboration between Dimeta and Rinnai will initially focus on the European market to further their knowledge and highlight the importance of collaboration across the whole value chain.

Rinnai is committed to design and produce RDME low carbon heating to properties not connected to the UK national grid. Rinnai offer technical, economic and practical solutions for UK customers who seek decarbonising DHW and property heat and support installers by sharing this information.

Renewable and recycled carbon DME, DME, BioLPG and LPG provide vital suppliers of energy to off-grid properties. Rinnai and Dimeta understand that replacement fuels that must not only perform at an identical standard to traditional off-grid fuels but must also ensure decarbonisation. Rinnai are working towards providing UK off-grid customers with a selection of energies and products that encourage carbon neutrality.

Rinnai’s H3 range of products include domestic and commercial gas-fired water heaters, solar thermal systems, electric cylinders and low-gwp heat pumps which offer immediate property decarbonisation.

 

18 April 2024

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