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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.

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.

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Rinnai’s H3 range of decarbonising products includes hydrogen / BioLPG ready technology, hybrid systems, and a wide range of LOW GWP heat pumps and solar thermal. Also, within Rinnai’s H3 range is Infinity hydrogen blend ready and BioLPG ready continuous flow water heaters which are stacked with a multitude of features that ensure long life, robust & durable use, customer satisfaction and product efficiency.

Rinnai’s range of decarbonising products - H1/H2/H3 - consists of heat pumps, solar, hydrogen in any configuration, and hybrid formats for either residential or commercial applications. Rinnai’s H3 range of products offers contractors, consultants and end users a range of efficient, robust and affordable decarbonising appliances which create practical, economic and technically feasible solutions. The range covers all forms of fuels and appliances currently available - electric, gas, hydrogen, BioLPG, rDME solar thermal, low GWP heat pumps and electric water heaters.

Rinnai H1 continuous water heaters and boilers offer practical and economic decarbonization delivered through technological innovation in hydrogen and renewable liquid gas-ready technology.

Rinnai’s H1 option is centred on hydrogen, as it is anticipated that clean hydrogen fuels will become internationally energy market-relevant in the future; Rinnai water heaters are hydrogen 20% blends ready and include the world’s first 100% hydrogen-ready hot water heating technology.

Rinnai H2 – Decarbonization simplified with renewable gas-ready units, Solar Thermal and Heat Pump Hybrids.  Rinnai H2 is designed to introduce a practical and low-cost option which may suit specific sites and enable multiple decarbonisation pathways with the addition of high performance.

Rinnai H3 – Low-GWP heat pump technology made easy - Rinnai heat pumps are available for domestic and commercial usage with an extensive range of 4 - 115kW appliances.

Rinnai’s H3 heat pumps utilise R32 refrigerant and have favourable COP and SCOP.

Rinnai is a world-leading manufacturer of hot water heaters and produces over two million units a year, operating on each of the five continents. The brand has gained an established reputation for producing products that offer high performance, cost efficiency and extended working lives.

Rinnai’s commercial and domestic continuous-flow water heaters offer a limitless supply of instantaneous temperature-controlled hot water and all units are designed to align with present and future energy sources. Rinnai condensing water heaters accept either existing fuel or hydrogen gas blends. Rinnai units are also suited for off-grid customers who require LPG and BioLPG or rDME.

Rinnai products are i2HY20 certified, A-rated water efficiency, accessed through multiple fuel options and are available for purchase 24/7, 365 days a year. Any unit can be delivered to any UK site within 24 hours. Rinnai offer carbon and cost comparison services that will calculate financial and carbon savings made when investing in a Rinnai system. Rinnai also provide a system design service that will suggest an appropriate system for the property in question. Rinnai offer comprehensive training courses and technical support in all aspects of the water heating industry including detailed CPD’s. More information can be found on Rinnai’s website and its “Help Me Choose” webpage.