EU decision on NOx emission levels applauded by OFTEC

OFTEC, working closely with DECC, DEFRA and other EU Member State organisations, has secured a ‘major win’ for the oil heating industry over a new EU standard limiting Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emission levels from boilers.

The revised standard, which in its earlier form would have had severe repercussions for UK boiler manufacturers, now gives them until 2022 to develop a new generation of oil boiler that will meet the more stringent requirements.

The limit on NOx emissions produced by oil boilers is outlined in the Ecodesign Directive which governs the design and performance of energy-using products to reduce energy consumption and environmental impact.

Throughout the drafting of the Ecodesign legislation, which included a consultation period with industry, the UK and other Member States assumed NOx levels would be measured using the latest standard EN 267:2009 +A1:2011.

However, in May 2014 when the calculation methods were published, an earlier version of the standard, EN 267:2009 had been referenced. The difference between the two standards influences results by approximately 28mg/kWh and so testing against the withdrawn EN 267:2009 standard would have meant that manufacturers were forced to develop appliances with a lower NOx limit (92mg/kWh) in order to comply.

NOx emissions as low as 92mg/kWh can only be achieved with a blue flame burner rather than the yellow flame burners which are currently in use. Therefore, oil boilers would need to be completely redesigned and technicians retrained to maintain these new products.

OFTEC, DEFRA and later DECC, successfully lobbied to reverse this decision and as a result, the final version of the calculation methods states that NOx levels from kerosene burning appliances will be measured using the latest standard EN 267:2009 +A1:2011.

OFTEC technical director Paul Rose comments: “The EU’s decision is a major win for the oil heating industry which will now preserve the use of yellow flame burners, subject to meeting other Ecodesign requirements, for at least another eight years. This should provide sufficient time for oil boiler manufacturers to develop appliances which emit lower NOx levels for future use and for technicians to acquire the necessary skills to maintain these.”