The oil heating industry is urging government to incentivise a switch from fuel oil to biofuels by offering a subsidy as part of the renewable heat incentive.

The Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC), Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) and ICOM Energy Association (ICOM) argue that replacing kerosene with environmentally-friendly bioliquid would reduce carbon emissions by 28% with up to 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per annum saved by 2020.

To incentivise this switch, the industry wants government to include bioliquid with a 30% waste cooking oil content in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and to implement a minimum 8p per kw hour subsidy.

If included in the RHI, industry believes 90% of existing oil customers could switch to the new fuel by 2020, therefore helping the government reach its targets for reducing carbon emissions.

Jeremy Hawksley, director general of OFTEC, said: “The oil heating industry has been working hard to develop technologies to enable approximately 2 million consumers across the UK and Ireland to reduce their carbon emissions from heating and hot water.

"Industry field trials over an 18-month period have highlighted the significant carbon savings that can be made by a switch from kerosene, resulting in the publication of a provisional standard for bioliquid."

The provisional fuel specification for a bioliquid blend contains a mix of 30% FAME bio-fuel and 70% kerosene, and can be used on existing oil heating appliances with very few system modifications.

It is suitable for pressure jet appliances up to 100kW. Now that a provisional standard has been agreed, oil companies, distributors and government will all be consulted on how to make the fuel commercially available at the right price for consumers. Part of this process is to persuade the government that bio-liquids should be eligible for payments under the Renewable Heat Incentive from October 2012.