Category Archives: Equipment

Technicians Manual Now in Audio & Digital formats

In keeping with the National Oilheat Research Alliance’s (NORA) ongoing commitment to technician education and to enable access to educational materials, it has just released its Technicians Manual for Liquid Heating Fuels in audio format.

Each chapter of the manual is available in a standard .mp3 audio file that can be played on all mobile devices, as well as desktop computers. The audio follows the text of the manual allowing for multi-sensory learning. Additionally, each chapter is available to download in a .pdf format.

According to NORA’s president Michael Devine, “Making high quality learning resources available to liquid fuel heating technicians is one of NORA’s highest priorities. Whether used as a stand-alone resource or in conjunction with NORA’s technician certification program, the manual and its audio component can bring this material to an even wider range of students and technicians.”

The audio version of the manual, along with the pdfs and a link to purchase a hard copy can be found at NORA’s online education and resource center, Learning.NORAweb.org/manual.

Inflation Reduction Act Recognizes Low-Carbon Liquid Heating Fuels for GHG Reductions

Congress and President Biden have recognized the critical role that the transition to low-carbon biofuels in homes heated with fuel oil will play in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), includes legislation that incentivizes the heating oil industry to improve the efficiency of its equipment while increasing the amount of biodiesel blended into the fuel. Both are essential in reaching the goal of reducing GHG emissions to zero. The IRA encourages the liquid heating fuels industry to continue to move forward with its transformation to a clean and green heating source.

This bill’s enactment was largely due to the efforts of Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), representing the State that uses the most heating oil.The IRA provides for homeowner tax credits of $600 for each new oil/biofuel blend compatible heating appliance.

Congress has set two major steps/goals to qualify:
For equipment placed in service after Dec. 31, 2022, the equipment must meet 2021 Energy Star efficiencies and be suitable for a 20% blend of biodiesel or renewable diesel use.
For equipment placed in service after Dec. 31, 2026, the equipment must have an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) of at least 90% and be suitable for a 50% blend of biodiesel or renewable diesel use.  

Michael Devine, President of the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), commented, “These are achievable goals for our industry. Most oil burner manufacturers are already compliant with the 20% biodiesel blend minimum for next year and plan to have models that meet the 2027 requirement of 50% biodiesel or renewable diesel in 2023. This is very exciting news as it indicates Congress’ endorsement of our industry’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions in heating fuels. It provides guideposts for a reasonable path forward in reducing greenhouse gases in fuel and improving equipment.”

The oil heating industry has been on the path to reducing GHG emissions for years with the widespread adoption of blending biodiesel (an advanced biofuel) into traditional heating oil. Additionally, States in the Northeast have included mandates or other incentives to include the blended fuel in their master energy plans. NORA, in concert with research partners such as Clean Fuel Alliance of America (CFAA), Brookhaven National Laboratory, oilfired heating equipment manufacturers and numerous heating oil retail marketers, has thoroughly tested, both in the laboratory and in the field, the blended fuels for safety, efficiency, reliability and GHG reductions.

Environmental groups that have been championing GHG reduction strategies had this to say about the IRA.

The Natural Resources Defense Council
“This is the most significant action the U.S. has ever taken to combat climate change. It will benefit the people of all 50 States—their health, their wallets, their homes and their future. And it will help the U.S. deliver on its undeniable responsibility to the rest of the world to do its part to address this global crisis. The House needs to come back quickly to cement this essential climate action. There is no time to waste. This bill is not perfect, but from a climate pollution perspective, the positives heavily outweigh the negatives—by a factor of 10.” 

The Rocky Mountain Institute“This legislation gives the U.S. a real chance to reach its Paris Agreement—while lowering costs for American households.”

The World Wildlife Fund
Among the most important provisions are the $9 billion in consumer home energy rebates. This includes 10 years of tax credits aimed at allowing American homes to run on more energy efficient and clean systems, which will save them money. 

With the passage of the IRA, homeowners can invest in new, more efficient and environmentally-beneficial heating systems with consumer federal tax incentives, provided by the Government. By upgrading their heating system, they will know they are taking the appropriate path towards a zero-carbon future. 
04Feb/22

NORA Announces New President

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has announced the appointment of Michael Devine as incoming President following the retirement of current President John Huber effective March 1, 2022. Devine comes to NORA after having served as Vice President of Sales & Business Development for World Energy.

As part of the Senior Management Team, he managed day to day activities for sales and volumes at terminals, prepared monthly and annual budgets and developed key national accounts including FedEx, UPS, Chevron, Ryder, The Union Pacific Railroad and others. Prior to his time at World Energy, he was the CEO and founder of Earth Energy Alliance where he assisted the petroleum distribution industry in reducing the carbon footprint of their fuel by increasing the use of renewable liquid fuels. 

Michael Devine

Devine has deep roots in the oilheat industry. He began his career in his family’s business, Devine Brothers of Norwalk, CT. He started as a truck driver and service technician, growing into roles as sales manager, vice president and president of the 50+ employee, third- generation business. He is a member of the NORA board and has been a positive and active voice in supporting the oilheat and liquid heating fuels industry for decades. 

NORA Board Chairman, Roger Marran announced, “We are excited about having Michael join the talented NORA team as president. He is an exemplary leader with the ability to further build on NORA’s success with his extensive knowledge and passion for the oilheat, biofuels and liquid fuels industry. He will help us expand on our mission of enabling renewable cleaner fuels, more efficient heating system and a highly educated technical workforce and is committed to NORA’s vision to provide better solutions for American consumers and businesses with cleaner, more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water systems.

Devine succeeds NORA’s founding President John Huber, who is retiring after a 22-year career with NORA. John will continue in his current role as President through early 2022 and will continue to provide support for Michael to ensure a successful transition period. Devine commented, “I’m honored to be selected as the next President of NORA. NORA has been critical to advancing the heating oil industry for over two decades. The challenges to our industry are great, but with the resources of NORA and the committed leadership of NORA’s Board, retailers and wholesalers throughout the country, we will develop the best path forward for this great industry.”

 NORA was authorized by Congress in 2000 to generate funding for the Oilheating industry to provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to American consumers. NORA’s efforts focus on Consumer Education, Professional Education, Energy Efficiency & Safety and Research. For more information on NORA’s activities go to NORAweb.org.

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.

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.

07Aug/20

NORA President on Low-Carbon Liquid Fuels

NORA President, John Huber, spoke with Eurofuel about the necessity of low-carbon liquid fuels in the U.S. and the joint conference on the Future of Liquid Fuels that NORA is hosting with Eurofuel on consecutive Wednesdays starting August 19.

What role can low carbon fuels play in climate protection?

NORA President John Huber

The economic activity of a high percentage of our economy is linked to carbon fuels. Heat, electricity and transportation represent almost 46% of carbon emissions. If we do not address fuels, we are essentially not addressing global warming which is not an acceptable answer.  Thus, we must have lower carbon fuels.  As an industry that supplies liquid fuels we must supply the right low-carbon answer or we are essentially conceding the battle.  

Continue reading
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
16Mar/20

Technical Note: Nitrile Rubber and B20 Biodiesel Blends

A significant amount of new testing data on nitrile performance in U.S. heating oil equipment with biodiesel meeting today’s stringent ASTM standards is now available. This recent testing shows common nitrile elastomers in typical heating oil burner pumps in the U.S. perform the same or better using B20 than those using conventional No. 2 heating oil. The validity of this testing is supported by elastomer manufacturers marketing B-100 nitrile which could, if appropriate, be used by burner manufacturers. See Technical note here.