The development of a low carbon solution to secure the future of liquid fuel heating will be the focal point of OFTEC’s 2018 annual conference next month, which promises to be one of the trade association’s most pivotal yet.

During the event, held on Tuesday 19 June at The Hilton Puckrup Hotel near Tewkesbury, OFTEC CEO Paul Rose will update members and guests on industry’s progress to bring to market a low carbon liquid fuel to directly replace kerosene in support of government’s decarbonisation plans.

OFTEC will be joined by Richard Vianello, Renewable Heat Incentive & Heat in Buildings Deputy Director at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s (BEIS). Richard will discuss current thinking on government heat policy and may be able to reveal some early findings from the recent ‘call for evidence’ on the future framework for heat in buildings.

Dr Ernst-Moritz Bellingen, Energy Policy Director of the German Institute for Heating and Oil Technology (IWO) will also talk low carbon liquid fuel options identified in a study conducted by the University of Freiburg, while Andrew Robertson, co-founder of renewable energy consultancy Clean Energy Consultancy Ltd, will talk through the customer journey when opting for a renewable heating solution.

Commenting on the event, OFTEC’s Paul Rose said: “Much progress has been made since OFTEC’s strategy for the future of off-grid heating was officially launched at last year’s conference and AGM.”

“Twelve months ago we were talking about plans to develop a low carbon liquid fuel as a ‘green’ alternative for the 850,000 oil using homes in England and Wales. Fast forward to today and, following direct engagement with government and policy makers, a joint OFTEC-BEIS industry working group has been established to co-ordinate discussion and action in this area.”

“OFTEC, in partnership with leading industry manufacturers Ecoflam, EOGB and Riello, has also begun testing the viability of a synthetic bio-oil called HVO (hydrogenated vegetable oil) as one potential option. At this early stage we are keeping our options open to ensure we find the right sustainable, cost effective and technically suitable solution for consumers, policy makers and our planet but the initial findings are very positive. Although this process will likely take a matter of years rather than months, OFTEC is keen to introduce a suitable low carbon fuel as soon as possible.”

The conference will provide a key opportunity to bring members from across the UK and Northern Ireland together to discuss the significant opportunity decarbonisation presents and how, by working together, industry can step up, innovate and deliver a real, workable and futureproof solution.

Paul Rose continues: “Government’s carbon reduction plans for the off-grid sector represent the chance for industry to once again demonstrate its proven capability to adapt and re-invent. This is a crucial time for the oil heating sector and we are determined to meet the challenge head on.”

“Next month’s event will enable us to communicate progress so far and for all members to get behind the next steps we need to take to turn our strategy into reality.”