Air Quality Regulations for non domestic RHI


HETAS is alerting installers and specifiers to changes in air quality regulations which affect biomass applications for the non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). From September 24th 2013 applications for a biomass boiler will need to have either a RHI emission certificate or an environmental permit demonstrating low particulate and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions. Since the non domestic Renewable Heat Incentive was launched, the majority of funding has been allocated to biomass installations, with commercial users reaping the benefits of using biomass as a low carbon fuel.

The criteria for the RHI emission certificate is a maximum of 30 grams per gigajoule (g/GJ) net heat input for particulate matter, and 150 g/GJ for NOx (expressed as NO2). If the biomass boiler does not have a RHI emission certificate then an environmental permit from the Environment Agency is required. Biomass boilers that do not have a RHI emission certificate or an environmental permit will be ineligible for the non domestic RHI. Applications before that date don’t need to meet the air quality requirements, but applications for additional boiler capacity after 24th September will need to meet the new standards.

End users must make sure they use the correct fuel as specified in the emission certificate. Fuel quality is paramount, and moisture content has the biggest effect on heat output as any water in the fuel has to evaporate away before the wood or biomass will burn, using up energy and reducing the amount of useful heat as opposed to steam up the chimney. For installations using wood pellets the European ENplus standard ensures fuel quality with minimum standards for ash content, ash melting temperature, wood pellet size, dust, moisture content and heat output. HETAS is approved as the UK certification body for ENplus by the European Pellet Council (EPC), and is able to certificate both producers and traders under the ENplus scheme.

HETAS is the only dedicated competent persons scheme for the solid fuel and biomass industry, and operates a Microgeneration Certification Scheme for biomass and solar thermal installers along with an appliance approval scheme for biomass appliances. They also run a fuel quality scheme along with Woodsure, with full details available on the HETAS website.

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