Proposals put forward as part of the Energy-related Product Directive (ErPD) could threaten the future of the oil heating industry throughout the British Isles. That’s the claim of OFTEC, which is currently fighting a proposed 7% penalty on non modulating oil boilers, which would make them impossible to install under the proposed Eco Boiler efficiency rating system.
However, research commissioned by OFTEC shows there is no evidence that non modulating domestic oil boilers are any less efficient than modulating ones. Jeremy Hawksley, Director General for OFTEC said, “A detailed technical study has been sent to both the UK and Irish governments who will present it to the European Commission. We are confident that ErPD can be revised so that non-modulating domestic oil boilers will not be unfairly penalised.”
The ErPD will probably take effect from January 2013 and will impose minimum efficiency levels of around 90% for both oil and gas boilers. So pressure is on appliance manufacturers to increase efficiencies which are around 85% for most oil boilers at the moment. The challenge is compounded by the fact that the UK is unique in having smaller kitchen style appliances which run on kerosene rather than gas oil. This imposes extra costs whereas in Germany for example it’s common to have a large commercial style boiler in a basement.
OFTEC has previously won concessions from Europe over nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. The EU was proposing an upper limit of 50mg per KWh which is only achievable by using a larger commercial style burner. A typical UK oil boiler probably produces around 190 – 210mg of NOx per KWh at the moment, so OFTEC has successfully argued that the proposed 50mg limit was unrealistic and a new limit has been agreed of 120mg per KWh. Boiler manufacturers are confident that this is achievable.