|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.
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.
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?
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
The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) held its second Oilheat Technical Workshop on September 18th -19th in Newport, RI. The workshop was held in partnership with the Southern New England Energy Conference. John Huber, NORA President, kicked-off the program describing the workshop’s goals as providing information on the progress of NORA R&D programs and to explore new ideas in an open forum.
The proposed 2018 and 2019 biennial Budget for the National Oilheat Research Alliance has been under development for several months.
The NORA Finance Committee, the Executive Committee and the Board of Directors have reviewed the 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.
The 2018 and 2010 budget continues the 2014 changes in the NORA statute and emphasizes research and development, and adds and energy efficiency component. Additionally, the budget continues to emphasize the close working relationships with the state associations.Download the Proposed 21018-2019 NORA budget here.
In 2016, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), in collaboration with the New York Oil Heating Association (NYOHA) and Oil Heat Comfort Corp., opened a research and training facility the—NORA Research & Education Center, in Plainview, NY, under the direction of Dr. Thomas Butcher.
Indoor Comfort Marketing’s publisher, Don Farrell, spoke to Dr. Butcher about the lab, its funding, its staffing, its projects and its goals.
Don Farrell: What is the official name of the research center and what is its mission?
Tom Butcher: The official name is NORA Research & Education Center. The mission of the research part is to support the development of advanced technologies that lead to improved efficiency, increased integration of renewable fuels and enhanced reliability of liquid fuels heating systems. Liquid fuels are traditional petroleum-based fuels and also biofuels such as biodiesel and other wood-derived liquid fuels.
The Department of Energy has released its latest edition of its Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide. This guide is for those who blend, distribute and use biodiesel and biodiesel blends. It provides information on the proper and safe use of biodiesel blends in heating systems and engines. It is intended to help fleets, individual users, blenders, distributors, and those involved handling biodiesel understand the procedures for handling and using biodiesel fuels.