All posts by John Huber

05Jan/15

Project Opportunity Notice Deemed a Success

[ezcol_1half]The National Oilheat Research issued its first Project Opportunity Notice (PON) since its reauthorization on October 31, 2014 with a deadline for submissions of December 12, 2014. NORA’s President, John Huber, categorized the PON a success as the number and quality of proposals met or exceeded expectations.

The PON (No. 2014-001) sought proposals to support the development, demonstration and commercialization of Oilheat technologies and made available two million dollars in funding.

At the deadline close, twelve proposals had been received totaling more than 4.5 million dollars for research on a cost shared basis with NORA. Under the proposals, NORA would contribute significant  funding for the projects.

“It is exciting that this many companies, including manufacturers, consultants and laboratories, are so interested in adding to the already high-quality products and services offered to the American consumer by the Oilheating industry,” said Huber. [/ezcol_1half] [ezcol_1half_end] “The quality of the concerns making the proposals is quite high and the topics are right on target with NORA’s long term plans.”

Although none of the proposals have gone through the entire process and been formally accepted, some of the topics proposed include: improving condensing appliances, low firing and modulating burners, delivery efficiency improvements and biodiesel/Bioheat® improvements.

All of the proposals are now under review by NORA’s technical experts. The next step is for NORA’s technical experts to make recommendations to the NORA technical committee for final approval.

NORA will continue to release PONs in the months and years ahead. They will be distributed to the industry through press releases and  posted here on the NORAweb.org site.[/ezcol_1half_end]

31Dec/14

ASTM Vote Opens Door for Biodiesel Innovation in Heating Oil

When finalized, landmark move for 20 percent biodiesel in heating oil expected to accelerate America’s transformation to Bioheat®

[ezcol_1half]JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – ASTM International, an organization which sets industry consensus standards for fuels and lubricants, has voted approve performance specifications for blends of 6 to 20 percent biodiesel with traditional heating oil.

The move is a significant leap forward in the industry effort to boost the percentage of cleaner burning biodiesel that homeowners and building managers use in oilheat equipment common to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

The updated ASTM D396 Standard Specification for Fuel Oils, containing the new grade for blends of 6 to 20 percent biodiesel, will be finalized and published by ASTM for public use after the usual ASTM review and editing process. It is expected by February 2015.

The mixture of biodiesel and heating oil is marketed as Bioheat® fuel, a registered trademark.

“The fuel oil industry is reinventing itself as a 21st century fuel by moving to higher blends of low carbon biodiesel and near-zero sulfur levels across the board,” said John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance.

The Bioheat renaissance gives oilheat dealers, mostly small, family-owned businesses, the ability to provide their customers with a desirable new product, according to Huber.

“Bioheat gives consumers the choice to use a clean, domestically produced fuel without having to invest in an expensive natural gas system,” said Paul Nazzaro, who leads the National Biodiesel Board’s Bioheat outreach program. “Setting these performance specs for increased biodiesel levels is hugely significant, because it opens the door for innovation in the heating oil industry and will allow more consumers to enjoy the full benefits of this fuel in their homes and businesses.”

[/ezcol_1half]

[ezcol_1half_end]Nazzaro added that environmentally speaking, a 20 percent blend of biodiesel puts Bioheat on par with natural gas, the biggest competitor to oilheat, while higher biodiesel levels up to 100 percent biodiesel could reduce the carbon footprint of Bioheat up to 80 percent compared to traditional fuel oil.

The passage of 5 percent biodiesel into the No. 1 and No. 2 grades of ASTM D396 occurred in 2008. During the last six years, the Bioheat Technical Steering Committee, comprised of industry technical experts and led by NORA and NBB, developed a tremendous amount of data that formed the basis for the ballot. The vote to pass the ballot came last week at the semi-annual meeting of the ASTM Committee D02 on Petroleum Products.

“The technical data with this ballot for the new B6-B20 grade verified what we have known for years-B20 made with high quality biodiesel works well,” said Seth Obetz, president of Pennsylvania-based Bioheat distributor Worley and Obetz. “We have been marketing high quality B20 for 14 years and our customers see fewer problems with B20 than with conventional heating oil.”

Wholesale fuel provider Amerigreen reported at the ASTM meeting that it has more than 100,000 B20 customers. The company said that number is growing because Bioheat customers see less maintenance than with conventional fuel oil.

The NBB and NORA have invested millions of dollars in Bioheat research, outreach and education through funding provided by oilheat dealers, biodiesel producers and the soybean checkoff program.

Made from a diverse mix of sustainable resources, biodiesel is an Advanced Biofuel as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

For more, visit Bioheatonline.com and Biodiesel.org

[/ezcol_1half_end]


About ASTM International
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is a globally recognized leader in the development and delivery of international voluntary consensus standards. Today, some 12,000 ASTM standards are used around the world to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence. Working in an open and transparent process and using ASTM’s a dvanced electronic infrastructure, ASTM members deliver the test methods, specifications, guides and practices that support industries and governments worldwide. Learn more at ASTM.org.

25Nov/14

NORA President Huber Chats with ICM

[ezcol_1half]In February, 2014, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) was re-authorized by Congress to operate through February 2019. NORA’s mission is and was to improve the American consumer’s experience with oil-fired heating and hot water. NORA’s activities fall under four general categories: [/ezcol_1half]

[ezcol_1half_end]Research & Demonstration, Industry Education, Energy Efficiency and Consumer Education. John Huber, NORA President, sat down with Indoor Comfort Marketing’s Greg Dool to discuss NORA’s direction for the next five years.[/ezcol_1half_end]


[ezcol_1half]GD: Now that NORA is back up and running, what principal areas of research do you plan to focus on?
JH: The biggest function of our research going forward will be on the fuels—specifically Bioheat® (biodiesel blended with heating oil and perhaps additional sources in the future)—and then also looking at how to make sure the fuel that we use functions properly in the equipment.

Continue reading

18Nov/14

Many Northeastern states require lower-sulfur heating oil while some embrace biodiesel blends

[ezcol_1half]Many states in the Northeast have instituted requirements to move heating oil to a low-sulfur blend and some have included biodiesel blends in their mandates.

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont all have phase-in periods that require a dramatic reduction in the amount of sulfur present in heating oil.

Other than Maryland and Pennsylvania, both of which have mandated a reduction to 500 PPM sulfur, each of the above states will require no more than 15 PPM. Each state has set its own time table for the transition, the latest date is July 2018.

The cities of New York and Philadelphia have set their own standards with more aggressive transitions.

The District of Columbia, not yet having low-sulfur requirement, has proposed 15 PPM sulfur by July 1, 2018.

Reducing the amount of sulfur in heating oil results in a reduction of emissions and[/ezcol_1half][ezcol_1half_end]fewer deposits on heat exchangers, providing a cleaner burn and better heating system efficiency.

Additionally, some of the states and New York City have either instituted a biodiesel blend requirement or have proposals in place. The inclusion of biodeisel (a renewable fuel made from agricultural products) in blends up to 5% makes what it known as Bioheat®. Blending amounts above 5% is also becoming widespread and the oilheating industry is currently working to have the higher blends included in ASTM’s specification for heatiing oil or in a new specification for Bioheat®.

The introduction of renewable biodiesel in heating oil offers American consumers a fuel with a renewable component that is actually lowers the carbon impact of heating with oil while bolstering U.S. farming and production.

Click here to view detailed chart of the states positions.

Thank you to Jim Collura, New England Fuel Institute, for assembling this information.[/ezcol_1half_end]