In the spring of 1976, representatives from Britain, Sweden, and the United States established an informal agreement to exchange research information on combustion processes. The impetus for this agreement, under the auspices of the International Energy Agency with the United States Department of Energy as Operating Agent, was the need for conservation practices that would mitigate the impact of any impending oil crisis by sharing information that would improve combustion efficiency and make use of alternative fuels.
The success of the informal arrangement led to the adoption in 1977 of a formal agreement for a program of research and development on energy conservation in combustion. Three primary areas of investigation (modeling, instrumentation, and fundamental combustion processes) focused on developing experimental and computational tools for conducting the necessary research. In 1978, Italy joined the agreement. Four nations were now pooling research data on improved combustion practices. To assure the fullest circulation and distribution of the information gained, the first Task Leaders Meeting was held at Oxford, England, in 1979.
At that time, it became apparent that the scope of the existing agreement was inadequate. A new Implementing Agreement was then designed that emphasized the application of tools recently developed in advanced piston engine technology, in furnace and stationary boiler improvement, and in fundamental research. The new agreement was approved in 1983 and was most recently amended in 2005. After which, the collaboration became one of the Technology Collaboration Program (TCP) formed under the auspices of the IEA. The combustion focused collaboration is now referred to as the Sustainable Combustion TCP or more succinctly, as the Combustion TCP.