Category Archives: technology

15Oct/20

NORA ads 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

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

23Apr/20

New Fuel Storage Tanks Manual

The National Oilheat Research Alliance has released a new Advanced Gold Series manual, Heating Fuel Storage Tanks, to accompany its Advanced Storage Tank Gold Series course or as a stand-alone study guide.
Written by John Donohue, J Donohue Associates and John Levey, NORA, the new manual recognizes the importance of on-site liquid fuel storage to the homeowner and emphasizes the need to choose the correct tank type, install it properly and conduct ongoing inspections and maintenance.
With eleven chapters the manual covers:

  • Why Tanks Fail
  • Codes & Regulations
  • Tank Selection Criteria
  • Installation Procedures
  • Fuel Lines
  • Filtration
  • Fuel Valves and Accessories
  • Tank Inspection& Maintenance Procedures
  • Tank Abandonment
  • Service Guides 

In addition, two Appendices include six evaluation, inspection and delivery report checklists along with NORA’s Recommended Practice for Home Heating Oil Tank Flood Resistance white paper.

Heating Fuel Storage Tanks is available in either print or free digital versions at noraweb.org/advanced-study-manuals

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.

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. 

22Jan/19

Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel

Biodiesel significantly reduces Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions compared to petroleum. The most comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date lifecycle analysis of U.S. biodiesel produced from soybean oil concludes that GHG emissions are reduced 66-72% relative to average U.S. petroleum
while not trading off food-for-fuel nor destroying forests.

All of this is carefully explained in the report Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

24Oct/18

Technical Workshop and the Oilheat Vision

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) recently hosted its Third Annual Technology Workshop in conjunction with the Southern New England Energy Conference on September 24th and 25th at the Newport Marriott, Newport, Rhode Island.   

NORA’s Workshop highlighted the research work being done at the NORA lab, NORA sponsored projects, innovations underway in Europe and technology advances of companies in the industry.

With a theme of “finding the path forward” for the oilheat industry, the workshop showcased 15 speakers from the U.S. and Europe followed by a panel discussing where the industry sees immediate and long-term threats and which technologies and initiatives can address them.

You can see each of the speakers and their presentations here

15Oct/18

Outgoing NORA Chairman Leaves Research Legacy

Tom Santa, Santa Energy, Bridgeport, CT, has been the Chairman of the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) since 2017 with his term expiring at the end 2018. For decades, Santa has been a strong advocate of oilheating research. He was an active participant in many Brookhaven Technology Conferences, with a particular interest in bringing a rigorous understanding of the need for good data to assess fuel quality.

When Santa took over as Chairman, NORA’s Research Laboratory in Plainview, NY was still in its infancy. With very little equipment in place, and with the well regarded Dr. Tom Butcher at the helm, Santa focused on ensuring the industry developed new technologies and a better understanding of the industries’ problems and potential solutions. An active, scientifically sound and well respected lab was vital to achieve this. In addition to Dr. Butcher, a strong team needed to be put in place, preferably young talent. Dr. Butcher was encouraged to develop and work with recent graduates and promising students from nearby Stony Brook University. Continue reading