A number of manufacturers have written to government in support of the campaign to have bio-liquids included in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).
In a letter to Ed Davey MP, the Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change, OFTEC chairman Barry Gregory said the practical consequence of not granting bio-liquids RHI eligibility would be to encourage existing oil households to do nothing to make carbon savings.
Gregory is also managing director of Riello Burners.
The campaign has the backing of a number of oil-fired equipment manufacturers including Worcester Bosch, Warmflow, Grant, Watson Fuels, Firebird and Harlequin. Jointly, these companies employ some 20,000 people, either directly or indirectly, working in the oil-fired sector. The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) has also pledged its support to the letter.
OFTEC and the FPS have both been in dialogue with the government since 2008, exploring ways in which a new liquid fuel could help de-carbonise heating. OFTEC has developed a new fuel specification called B30K, which has 28% less carbon content than kerosene. This fuel could, OFTEC claims, be deployed as a drop-in replacement for the 1.5 million oil households and 250,000 commercial oil users in the UK.
Although the fuel was included in the original RHI consultation in February 2010, recent policy statements have ignored the potential role B30K could play.
In the letter, Gregory said: "By excluding bio-liquids from the RHI, DECC will, we believe, fail to provide an easy way for current oil homes and businesses to de-carbonise their heating. This is because technologies which are included in the RHI will still be more expensive than conversion to B30K and, in many cases, cause severe disruption for homeowners.
"Heat pumps are inappropriate for most oil homes which are older rural properties, as the design of existing wet radiator systems do not meet the design requirements of heat pump systems. Therefore, for a heat pump to perform correctly, the existing system will have to be redesigned and configured, adding cost and disruption on the consumer. Biomass boilers require a large amount of space which may not be viable for many homes, and solar thermal/PV panels usually require back up – usually from carbonised electricity if they are to heat a property effectively.
"If the RHI is granted to bio-liquids – at an appropriate tariff – our industry will encourage the installation of high-efficiency bio-compatible boilers and new oil tanks. We estimate that, if the RHI is granted, bio-liquids could be installed in sufficient homes to save two million tonnes of CO2 per annum by 2020."