All posts by John Huber

19Nov/21

NORA Releases Report on Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has released a recently completed report on its Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project. The report examines the impact of rebates on efficiency, reductions in gallons of fuel used, savings to consumers and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. These rebate incentive programs have been used in many states for several years. 

At the time the report’s release, NORA rebates had been used to support the installation of 6,412 liquid fuel fired boilers. This is approximately 1/10 of 1% of the liquid fuel powered heating equipment in the field. The dramatic gains in efficiency over the units replaced yielded big savings to the customers and to society.

On average, fuel consumption was reduced by 170 gallons per year per home. At $3.20 per gallon of fuel, this means a savings of $544 per year. If a $500 rebate encouraged early replacement by 1 year, the return on investment would be 8.8%. A boiler has a typical useful life of 25 years; they often last much longer. Total savings over the life of a boiler would be $13,600 in current dollars.

The societal savings are also dramatic. For these 6,412 boilers that were replaced, over one million gallons of fuel will not be used for the next 25 years. This represents a total of 27,251,000 gallons of fuel not burned over the life of the boiler. This translates into $87 million dollars saved; money that can be spent in the local economies.

Additionally, the replacement boilers represent nearly 396,000 tons of CO2e that will not be put into the atmosphere.

The study used in-field measurements of fuel consumption (before and after equipment changes).
The researchers used actual delivery data of fuel to determine fuel use in a particular home prior to the equipment change and then evaluated consumption after the installation. The study did not rely on equipment ratings or other manufacturer evaluations of equipment. It captured in-use and actual savings to a consumer.

According to Dr. Thomas Butcher, NORA’s Technical Director and the study’s lead author, “The report provides powerful evidence of the benefits of improved equipment installed in homes and also the types of equipment that will yield the most savings for consumers.”

NORA will be developing communication pieces for service personnel and consumers so they can maximize the efficiency of their home. This information will also be invaluable to manufacturers as they develop equipment that reduces consumption in real world applications.

27Jul/21

NORA Releases 2022-2023 Budget for Comment

The proposed 2022 and 2023 biennial budget for the National Oilheat Research Alliance has been under development for several months. The NORA Finance Committee and the Executive Committee have reviewed the 2022 & 2023 budget and it is now being released for public comment.

At the conclusion of the public comment period, the budget will be forwarded to the Department of Energy.

Anyone interested in commenting on this should forward comments, by September 1, 2021, to JHuber@NORAweb.org.

The 2022 and 2023 budget incorporates the 2014 and 2018 changes in the NORA statute emphasizing research and development and adds an energy efficiency component. Additionally, the budget continues to emphasize the close working relationships with the state associations. For more information about NORA and its programs or services, call 703-340-1660 or visit the web site, NORAweb.org.

03Jun/21

“Future of Liquid Heating Fuels” conference completed

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and EUROFUEL hosted their second annual conference titled Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels: Putting the Pieces Together. This follows last year’s widely attended Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels in a Carbon Constrained World
The 2021 conference was hosted on two consecutive Thursdays, May 20 & 27, with sessions approximately two hours in length.
Each day focused on a general topic:
Thursday, May 20: Public Policy & Greenhouse Gas Reductions
Thursday, May 27: Technology Advancements—Are They Positioning Us for a Future?

26Feb/21

European/North American Conference on the Future of Liquid Heating Fuels: “Putting the Pieces Together”

As the liquid heating fuels industry prepares for its low-carbon future, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and the Eurofuel Association will host its second annual conference titled, Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels: Putting the Pieces Together on May 20 & 27, 2021. This follows last year’s widely attended Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels in a Carbon Constrained World conference. The 2021 event, presented online, will feature speakers and topics with the goal of putting the pieces in place to answer the questions on transitioning to low-carbon fuels that were identified during the 2020 event.

Moritz Bellingen, Chairman of Eurofuel stated, “The magnitude of the challenges posed by the energy transition requires a variety of solutions. We cannot afford to exclude any solutions that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Low-carbon heating liquid fuels are part of the solution. Innovation is fostering the creation of new low-carbon liquid solutions that strike the right balance between emission reduction and consumer requirements.”

John Huber, NORA’s president, said, “The liquid fuel heating industries in North America and Europe both face severe pressures to adapt to low-carbon fuels. By working together to advance appliance technology and fuels, we can create and implement successful strategies that will guarantee our role in the energy sector for generations.”
The 2021 conference will be hosted on two consecutive Thursdays, May 20 & 27, with sessions approximately two hours in length. Each day will begin at 9am U.S. Eastern Daylight Savings Time and 3pm in Europe (UTC+1).

The first day of the Conference, May 20: Public Policy & Greenhouse Gas Reductions will review carbon reduction public policy actions in some of the states in the U.S. and several countries of Europe as well as what effect Brexit will have on policy in the UK. Various mechanisms for encouraging low-carbon fuel use will be addressed including carbon taxes, low-carbon fuel standards & mandates as well the push towards electrification (heat pumps). Additionally, the program will address how other renewable fuel users (aviation, trucking, off-road) intersect with the heating industry and are there any technical or legal obstacles to low-carbon liquid fuel use?

The second day, May 27: Technology Advancements—Are They Positioning Us for a Future? will focus on the technologies of the fuels themselves and which markets are they best able to serve, the state of the heating equipment available and their ability to accommodate low carbon fuels and meet the efficiency requirements needed.

We encourage everyone to mark their calendars for this event.

15Oct/20

NORA Adds to Online Gold courses with Advanced Venting

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) is pleased to announce the release of a new Gold Series online course, Advanced Venting, paving the way for achieving NORA Gold Technician Certification online.

Advanced Venting joins three other Gold Certification Series online courses, Advanced Hydronics, Advanced Efficiency and Advanced Heating Fuel Storage Tanks, to offer NORA silver certified technicians the opportunity to complete, on-line, four of the advanced gold courses necessary to upgrade to Gold Certification status. 

Gold is the top tier of NORA’s Technician Certification program and describes professionals who have advanced training in a variety of programs, but more importantly describes individuals who are continuously working to improve their performance. 

NORA president, John Huber, in accordance with NORA’s mandate to provide the industry with technical education, said, “Adding Advanced Venting to NORA’s online course library is an important step as it allows technicians to pursue and complete their Gold certification upgrade without the need for travel to live classes. This lowers the barriers to acquiring the knowledge needed today.”

Each of the Advanced Gold series courses also offer six NORA continuing education units (CEUs) which can be applied to upgrading from Bronze Certification to Silver Certification as well as renewal of existing Silver or Gold certifications.

The Advanced venting course is based on NORA’s Advanced Venting manual, authored by Tim Begoske of Field Controls. It can be found at NORA’s learning website, Learning.NORAweb.org

01Oct/20

The Future of Liquid Heating Fuels in a Carbon Restrained World

For the first time ever, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and Eurofuel (European Heating Oil Association) hosted a virtual conference on liquid heating fuels in a carbon constrained world. Manufacturers of heating equipment, liquid fuels now in the market and potential fuels of the future shared their ideas and what steps they are taking to be ready for this future.

Click here for more.

28Jul/20

Three New Online Courses

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has added three new online courses to its training center at Learning.NORAweb.org. Two of them, Advanced Heating Fuel Storage Tanks and Advanced Efficiency, are components of NORA’s technician Gold Certification program and offer six continuing education credits (CEU) each. The third, Bioheat® Technical Guidance offers one credit.

Advanced Heating Fuel Storage Tanks and Advanced Efficiency join Advanced Hydronincs as online courses providing three of the requisite four advanced Gold Series courses necessary to upgrade to NORA Gold Certified Technician status.

According to NORA’s President, John Huber, “It is important for technicians to have the ability to upgrade their certifications online. With the addition of these Gold courses, we are very near that goal.” NORA anticipates adding two more Gold courses in the coming months.

“Video courses are an efficient and popular way to put important training material in front of as many technicians and students in the field as possible. They are free to the user and now that travel is restricted and many industry conferences have been cancelled, online courses are a great solution to maintaining certifications and gaining knowledge,” said NORA’s Director of Education, John Levey.

These three courses join the library of courses already on the site. These cover topics from equipment service to oil delivery to tank installation.
To access the courses, a technician or student must have an active user account at Learning.NORAweb.org.

30Jun/20

NORA & Eurofuel host online conference on the future of liquid fuels

For the first time ever, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and Eurofuel (European Heating Oil Association) will host a virtual conference on liquid heating fuels in a carbon constrained world. Manufacturers of heating equipment, liquid fuels now in the market and potential fuels of the future will share their ideas and what steps they are taking to be ready for this future.

Continue reading
30Jun/20

Impact on service by biodiesel blends in heating oil

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has conducted periodic surveys to assess the impact and role that biofuels play in the marketplace. Many view low-carbon fuels as the best path for the industry as it reduces its environmental impact. Biodiesel is a low-carbon fuel that is available in most markets, is used widely and offers significant reduction of the amount of carbon dioxide released by heating appliances.

NORA has conducted ongoing research in this area and has found that the transition to higher blends of biodiesel can occur with low costs and little impact on the consumer. A number of retailers have been selling the higher blends of biodiesel.

To verify/validate the lab conclusions on biodiesel, NORA conducted a wide-ranging survey of retailers and service personnel. This latest survey, completed in December 2019 is summarized here.

See the survey report here

03Jul/19

Product Development Program Opportunity Notice

PON No. 2019

The National Oilheat Research Alliance Board of Directors has authorized funds to be spent on various research projects. Under PON No. 2019, NORA plans to award multiple cost-shared contracts in nine categories, up to a total of $350,000 for each award.  This funding allocation may be adjusted depending on the quantity and quality of proposals received. There is no minimum project funding amount per project award.   All projects will be managed by NORA’s Research Center. Proposals are due August 1, 2019 at 5pm EST.

NORA PON No. 2019 seeks proposals to support the development,demonstration,and commercialization of Oilheat
technologies and systems in the following categories.

(See the actual PON for details)

  • Category A: Ability to go to 100% Low carbon liquid fuel (LCFW). Seeking fuels, components, and burners for NORA testing commercialization
  • Category B: Biofuel blending, terminal storage, on-site storage & delivery 
  • Category C: Modeling and report demonstrating LCFW appliances are superior than electric heat pumps for residential applications
  • Category D: Assessing the biofuel fuel supply and delivery infrastructure capabilities in 2030 and 2050
  • Category E: Demonstrate and field test the integration of latest generation smart thermostats in boiler applications versus the demand, assuming B50 in 2030 and B100 in 2050
  • Category F: Demonstrate and field test self-diagnostic burners and or appliances that provide trend analysis, component approaching failure and troubleshooting failure analysis.
  • Category G: Develop an analytical economic optimization model and report covering the sizing and operation of adding a cold climate heat pump to a non-condensing boiler
  • Category H: Develop advanced heating technologies including LCLF heat pumps focusing on efficiency and zero net carbon
  • Category I: Develop off-grid or grid failure heating systems that can operate in absence of power using batteries, generators or other means

    This funding allocation may be adjusted based upon the quantity and quality of the proposals received. There is no minimum project funding amount per project award.