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Condensing biomass boilers to qualify for domestic Renewable Heat Incentive
Published:  11 November, 2013

Condensing biomass boilers will be eligible for the domestic Renewable Heat Incentive following confirmation from government analysis that the risk from certain pollutants discharged from such boilers is minimal.

When the final domestic RHI policy was published in July 2013 it was announced that condensing biomass boilers would not initially be eligible for the domestic RHI.

This position, however, was subject to the result of tests being undertaken on behalf of Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in order to properly assess the potential impact on water quality of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) being emitted in the condensate of this type of boiler.

PAHs are products of incomplete fuel burning and are categorised as priority hazardous substances under the EU Water Framework Directive.

Defra has confirmed that while a small amount of PAHs are released in the condensate from condensing biomass boilers, the levels should not pose a significant threat to the aquatic environment once they have been through wastewater treatment.

The government is therefore content to extend domestic RHI eligibility to condensing biomass boilers, provided they meet the other eligibility criteria of the scheme. This applies to eligible condensing biomass boilers installed between 15 July 2009 and the launch of the scheme in Spring 2014, as well as those installed after the launch of the scheme.

Simon Allan, renewables director for Plumb and Parts Center said: "We’re delighted with the news that condensing biomass boilers will be included in the domestic RHI. This move provides great business opportunities for installers, and gives people more options when looking for ways to heat their homes safely, cleanly and efficiently.”

Eligibility criteria for RHI funding is set out in the policy document Renewable Heat Incentive: The first step to transforming the way we heat our homes.