UKIFDA is working with trade associations within the liquid fuels supply chain to lobby the UK government to develop a transition that enables consumers not connected to the gas grid to cut their carbon emissions through a series of planned steps, rather than one major heating system change.
Biofuels would allow off-grid homes to switch to a more environmentally friendly fuel with lower carbon emissions straightaway, with a view to fully transition over time. Importantly though, there will be minimum disruption to households as they can continue to use a liquid fuel form of heating without making large scale changes to their home heating.
Guy Pulham, UKIFDA chief executive, comments;
“Transitioning to biofuels is key in reaching the UK government’s decarbonisation targets, and in a way that works for consumers too.
“We are also keen to stress that oil boilers are not banned in existing homes and government has not announced any plans to do this.
“Highly efficient, oil-fired condensing heating systems provide an excellent way to begin contributing to the energy transition, as modern equipment consumes virtually all the fuel used. Compared to outdated, standard boilers, they save up to 25% of the fuel oil – which also means a 25% reduction in your carbon emissions. Typically, a new condensing oil-fired boiler will have an efficiency of 92% to 93%, and there are now over 90 “A” rated models on the market.
“We have been lobbying the UK government and the Committee on Climate Change to support our industry’s strategy, which presents solutions in a timeframe that exceeds the net-zero emission legislation. The first stage of this vision is for government to incentivise all homeowners, irrelevant of type of heating system, to make energy efficiency improvements in their own homes.
“We suggest improvements such as fitting smart meters to tanks, installing smart temperature controls across homes, and installing better insulation.
“The continued focus on electrification of heat using heat pumps for those off-grid does not take into account the high price consumers would have to pay to change existing systems. The majority of the UK’s rural off-grid homes are pre-1919; and retrofitting would be expensive, especially as so many would need to improve insulation, and the running costs would be too much.
Efficient and cost-effective
“Recent studies undertaken by fellow trade association OFTEC and their consultants In Perpetuum (2019) suggest that biofuels offer the most efficient and cost effective way to reduce carbon emissions in off-gas grid homes due to the type and fabric of the houses. These studies suggest that retrofitting homes so that they can efficiently operate on newer technologies such as heat pumps could cost up to £11,000 (dependant on type of house) if only reasonable improvements are required, or over £11,000 (and up to circa £50,000 in larger homes) for deeper retrofits.
“The cost of a new condensing boiler (if required) and biofuel tank will range from £1,500 to £7,000 dependant on house size. Liquid fuels can and, should be, part of the solution for the future of off-grid heating.
“We feel that adding biofuels into the energy mix for meeting carbon reduction targets and having a pathway to biofuels is key in reaching decarbonisation targets, and in a way that works for consumers too.
“The ultimate biofuels on the market will be 0% fossil. However, initially, the introduction of transitional fuels such as B30K mean consumers can change the fuel without changing the heating system, as they would work with current oil condensing boilers and infrastructure with minimal tweaks. The ideal pathway to the 0% fossil biofuel will take into account government ambition and consumer finances proving clear legislation to enable appropriate industry innovation to supply the new fuels.”