OFTEC Ireland suggests realistic pathway for carbon reduction in domestic off grid sector

OFTEC Ireland, the organisation that represents the liquid fuel heating industry in Ireland, is urging local politicians to take a more realistic approach to reducing carbon emissions within the home heating sector.

It comes as OFTEC Ireland has presented a cost-effective, efficient methodology to tackling climate action in homes, by decarbonising the fuel itself and promoting better use of controls.

A recent report* encouraged the widespread use of biomass for heating as a viable solution. OFTEC Ireland believes that wood biomass heating solutions are best employed in non-domestic applications where particulates can be monitored and stopped entering the atmosphere by flue discharge scrubbers.

With over 686,000 homes in Ireland using liquid fuelled heating systems, OFTEC Ireland proposes adapting existing systems to run on a cost-effective biofuel solution. The organisation proposes that this approach would quickly reduce carbon emissions at a substantially lower cost than completely changing out heating systems.

David Blevings, OFTEC Ireland Manager, recently shared his comments with local MEP Sean Kelly, reiterating, "Over 40% of Irish consumers have a liquid fuelled boiler, many in rural and off-gird homes, and the most practical and cost-effective way to reducing their carbon emissions is by decarbonising the fuel they use. Independent research shows that the installation of systems such as air source heat pumps are not suitable for 90% of off grid homes in ROI due to their BER rating which is below C1. They are therefore not suitable for heat pump use without expensive deep retrofit works which could cost up to €50,000 per home and put consumers through massive disruptions.

OFTEC has developed a vision and realistic pathway to replace kerosene with a sustainable supply of low carbon liquid fuel. Calculations show that if all 686,000 liquid fuelled boilers move to a B30 biofuel (30% FAME/70% Kerosene mix) the carbon saving would be twice as much as DCCAE’s proposal to move 170,000 oil fired homes to air source heat pump by 2030.**

"We will be lobbying Ministers and TD’s this year asking for home heating to be included in the biofuels obligation. The current biofuel obligation overlooks the fact that approximately 40% of engine fuel used in Ireland is not subject to the Biofuels Obligation and there is no obligation on the liquid fuelled home heat sector. The inclusion of home heating oil in the biofuels obligation and the reduction in carbon emissions makes more sense than penalising rural dwellers through increased carbon taxes", added David.

*Slashing Emissions from Residential Wood Heating (Bioenergy Ireland, 2019)
** Draft National Energy and Climate Plan – DCCAE 2021-2030