Category Archives: Uncategorized

25Jan/24

Donnie Wahlberg Teams Up with Clean Fuels Alliance America to Drive Awareness for Bioheat® Fuel

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — Acclaimed actor and Boston native Donnie Wahlberg is joining forces with Clean Fuels Alliance America in a dynamic campaign to raise awareness about Bioheat® fuel, an eco-friendly and sustainable home heating solution derived from plants, including soybeans. Wahlberg, known for his deep ties to the Boston community, is excited to champion this initiative, reconnecting with his roots and promoting a cleaner future for the Northeast.

Bioheat® fuel is a renewable energy source that blends traditional heating oil with biodiesel, significantly reducing carbon emissions and environmental impact. Wahlberg’s partnership with Clean Fuels is driven by a shared commitment to promoting sustainable energy solutions and fostering environmental responsibility.

“We are honored and excited to have Donnie Wahlberg join forces with Clean Fuels in our mission to promote sustainable energy solutions,” said Clean Fuels CEO Donnell Rehagen. “Donnie’s involvement adds a powerful voice to our campaign, bringing attention to the positive impact of Bioheat® fuel on both a local and global scale. We believe that together, we can inspire positive change and encourage individuals to make the switch to cleaner, more sustainable heating options.”

“I have two sons. When they come to Boston to visit my family, and they see that big oil tank in the basement, they are like, ‘What is this?’ How great is it that I can now tell them, ‘You know what’s in there, vegetable oil,’” said Wahlberg. “It’s changing right under our noses we just have to realize that it’s right there. To know that my kids know that I am from an older generation, even though I don’t look it, but I care, and I’m doing my part to help protect their future and their children’s future and that means everything to me.”

Visit mybioheat.com to learn state-specific information about the benefits of Bioheat® fuel. The site also offers resources, educational materials and details on how individuals can make the switch to Bioheat® fuel for their heating needs. Visit ussoy.org to learn about how soy empowers sustainable solutions in food, feed, fuel and as alternatives to industrial ingredients formerly derived from fossil fuels.

About U.S. Soy
Representing the positive global human impact of soy grown in the United States, the U.S. Soy brand carries forward soy’s promise to transform global nutrition, provide climate-forward solutions, and support progress for people and their communities around the world. U.S. Soy is powered by the innovation of the industry; the unsurpassed quality, reliability, and sustainability of the soybeans grown by our farming families who invest through checkoff dollars; and the commitment of the organizations that raise awareness, build demand, develop new markets, and discover new uses for soy and soy products.

19Jan/24

B100 Heating is Here

B100 Heating is Here

Carbon reduction policy is now the norm for the Northeastern States. Renewable low-carbon and zero-carbon energy sources are being aggressively pursued. Among them, solar and wind seem to get the most publicity and both provide exceptionally clean energy. In the mix of clean-energy fuels are those liquid versions that work so well and effectively in liquid fuel fired heating—primarily biodiesel (ASTM 6751). Biodiesel has been used in liquid fuel heating for close to two decades, blended with standard heating oil, and for each drip of biodiesel blended, the carbon emissions drop. Since it is still a liquid fuel, the infrastructure, delivery, storage, and management remain the same, requiring little to no modification—freeing the industry to move forward. The transition to higher blends has been ongoing during this time, and along with it, the updating of codes and standards, like ASTM and UL, that ensure safe and effective operation.

The past year saw significant leaps in the heating systems available with the ability to be powered by the lowest carbon liquid heating fuel, B-100. Energy Kinetics, a boiler and integrated systems manufacturer from Lebanon, NJ, announced the 100% biodiesel blend listing for their complete line of residential and commercial heat and hot water boilers. This followed the necessary preliminary step of having B100 burners. During the past 12 months, both R. W. Beckett Corp. and Carlin Combustion Technology launched their respective lines of burners rated by UL to operate on 100% biodiesel, as well as blends of biodiesel and fuel oil. Years of collaboration with these industry partners, along with NORA’s R&D division based in Plainview, NY, enabled the development and deployment of these burners on Energy Kinetics B100 boilers.

    Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps the oilheat industry meet aggressive decarbonization goals. In addition to biodiesel and blends providing a significant evolution in the oilheat industry toward sustainability and a low-carbon future, energy savings can provide a remarkable force multiplier. The NORA Report on its Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project demonstrates 25% average savings when upgrading from older boilers to systems that incorporate Energy Kinetics’ well insulated, low mass, thermal purge design strategy. For forward-looking fuel dealers that offer biodiesel blends or even B100, combined with an upgrade of their customers’ boilers, can cut carbon emissions by almost 85%—all the while significantly reducing heat and hot water costs.

According to Energy Kinetics’ President, Roger Marran, “Several decades of research on renewable liquid heating fuels, the advancements made with biofuels, updated UL and other standards, and many years of R&D and field testing have opened a unique and powerful pathway for remarkably clean low carbon heat and hot water systems. Introducing our line of fully compatible B100 listed boilers means that clean and reliable operation is now available for all biodiesel blends from straight oilheat through 100% biodiesel. Combined with the efficiencies gained with our boilers, emissions and fuel use are reduced even further, achieving outstanding results with even lower fuel bills.”

Energy Kinetics boiler design strategy begins at the heart of the heating system with a focus on exceptional burner combustion. This is achieved with high performance ceramic and high-temperature alloy combustion chamber designs. The company then builds a specially formulated low mass steel spiral boiler around that heart of the system. This provides near perfect combustion for clean burning operation with oilheat, natural gas, and propane, and now seamlessly integrates with new burner technology with up to 100% biodiesel (B100).

Additional technology enabling industry leading energy savings includes the Energy Manager boiler control with thermal purge—a highly effective energy recovery feature, and integration with a unique plate heat exchanger heated hot water storage tank.

The combination results in proven 30-year lifecycle boiler designs that optimize comfort, savings, serviceability, and overall performance.

19Sep/23

Dr. Jenny Frank talks with ICM

Indoor Comfort Marketing continues its interview series chatting with Dr. Jenny Frank, NORA Research Associate and Assistant Professor at SUNY, Morrisville, NY.

Dr.
Frank’s academic and research activities have been investigating the effectiveness and cost viability of various pathways to carbon reduction.

Wanting to make a difference.

Dr. Frank: I received my Ph.D. from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science & Forestry. I studied different types of renewable energy technologies and pathways.  I focused on different biomass-based pathways, such as bio-heat, biodiesel, solar photovoltaics, and wind-based pathways, to really understanding the technical and financial viability of deploying different types of resources. 

ICM: What drew you to this field in the first place, and then to pursue a Ph.D.?

Dr. Frank: I always really wanted to help the environment. As just one person, I thought, “How can I have the biggest impact?”  I am someone who, when I start something, I’m going to finish it. I really wanted to help others, as well. Therefore, my interest in the environment, in different types of energy, paired with a desire to help students, is what got me interested in becoming a professor of renewable energy. 

ICM: Can you tell me more about your particular area of study—the economic and technical viability of these new technologies? 

Dr. Frank: Much of my research focuses on a methodology called techno-economic analysis. Simply put, my research focuses on the technical and financial impacts of diverse renewable energy technologies and fuels. This is done to analyze their long-term impacts from an environmental and financial perspective. 

ICM: Is this real-world viability or just the academic exercise of studying? 

Dr. Frank: The studies that I do aren’t just theoretical. We’re looking at real-world data and projections, as well as historical data from past energy consumption. 

ICM: How did you narrow your focus down to heating from the broad-based studies of environmental science and forestry?

Dr. Frank: Among the different types of studies I worked on, one was a heating analysis.  We looked at several different pathways to understand the greenhouse gas emissions from each and whether they are affordable to deploy. We looked at air source heat pumps, natural gas, bioheat (a biomass blend), and then a baseline pathway looking at ULSD, your typical heating oil. That sparked my interest because I didn’t realize until I performed that study how beneficial using a bioheat blend could be, not only from a financial perspective but also from a greenhouse gas emissions perspective when we’re discussing emissions reductions.

ICM: Who commissioned that study? 

Dr. Frank: It was part of my Ph.D. dissertation, in collaboration with my advising professor and industry experts, who also authored this study. I had been thinking, “Okay, what would be the advantages of using a fuel such as biodiesel?”

ICM: What did you find in that study? 

Dr. Frank: We found that, when compared to alternative pathways, such as ULSD, as well as natural gas, the biomass-based fuel (biodiesel) has the advantage in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions and also from a financial viability standpoint. This was a New York-based study; of course, depending on where you do the study, the results may differ depending on the data you utilize, such as fuel type and other inputs.

From a greenhouse gas standpoint, in terms of greatest reductions from the ULSD baseline, we found that the air source heat pump had the greatest reductions, and that was followed by the biodiesel blend. However, when it comes to financial viability, we found that the biodiesel blend was favorable. 

This study is currently published in a peer-reviewed journal. If anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me at jfrank@noraweb.org

ICM: You did some work with the National Biodiesel Board, now Clean Fuels Alliance America. I understand that they have a program to support young scientists in the low carbon fuels field.

Dr. Frank: That is a wonderful program called Next Generation Scientists for Biodiesel that really helps educate young scientists/students, whether undergrad or graduate, who are interested in learning about biomass-based fuels. The program introduced me to an entire network of different professionals in the field, helped me get to conferences, supported me through participation in different research seminars and research talks in areas that I would never have thought of as a graduate. 

ICM: Is this an interactive program with continuing education?

Dr. Frank: Yes. I was the co-chair for some time, and I helped other students in the program, as well. It was a wonderful experience.  I hope that, in the future, we can establish a similar program, because it really helped spark my interest in the field. It also helped me in terms of my career prospects. 

ICM: You’re now a research associate with NORA, as well as an assistant professor at SUNY, Morrisville. How did you get on NORA’s radar or how did NORA get on yours?

Dr. Frank: NORA had read some of my research.

ICM: You have been working with NORA since the Spring of this year. Were you surprised at anything you saw there?

Dr. Frank: I didn’t realize, at first, that NORA had the Net Zero Carbon Home initiative. When I learned more, I thought what it was doing was amazing.  Now, it is one of the projects I am working on, and we have written a study that we hope to get published this year. It proves that that when we utilize solar photovoltaics in combination with B100 (ASTM 6751 biodiesel) fuels, we can achieve a net zero carbon home. It’s great that we can practice what we preach. 

ICM: Sounds like that was a pleasant surprise. From your perspective, what challenges are you seeing that the industry is going to have to address? 

Dr. Frank: I think that there is this mentality that we can’t move towards both electrification and biomass-based fuels. It must be one or the other.  It’s a fact that both electrification and biomass-based fuels both can help us decarbonize, whether it’s at the Federal level, the State level or more of a local level. I think the challenge is this mentality, this mindset, that it’s either/or, not both as it really should be. We should all be working towards a common solution, which is reducing our greenhouse gas emissions through decarbonization. 

ICM: Do you see the movement to low-carbon biomass-based fuels happening? 

Dr. Frank: I’m seeing the education happen. I think a lot more needs to happen in terms of actually getting people to adopt low-carbon fuels, but I think it is happening. 

ICM: Look down the road, five or 10 years, do you personally have a vision for renewable liquid fuels in homes? I know you are “twentysomething” and I don’t like classifying people by generation, but there can be differences in attitudes, perceptions and vision. What’s your vision? 

Dr. Frank: If we can educate more homeowners on the benefits of utilizing Bioheat®—that it reduces carbon emissions and  our carbon footprint—and have them understand that  this is an affordable solution that is available now and clearly works from a technical perspective, I think that we can really expand and get homeowners, especially in my generation, to adopt this fuel. However, education is really important.  

ICM: The liquid heating fuels industry’s position is that by using low carbon fuels, greenhouse gas reductions can begin immediately. Has your research looked at that?

Dr. Frank: The time value of carbon was very important throughout my dissertation in terms of reducing our emissions now versus waiting for different technologies to be more affordable and commercial. Biofuels are commercially available now, we can access them, they’re affordable—why wouldn’t we currently want to reduce our emissions? Actually, a few of my studies looked at that—understanding what the monetary value of reducing our emissions is now, as well as considering what the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are when we reduce now versus waiting five years. 

ICM: Do five or ten years really make a difference in greenhouse gas emissions? 

Dr. Frank: Yes, at least in the literature that I’ve reviewed and in the studies that I’ve conducted. Yes, it does make a huge difference. I think we need to realize that and act on the notion that we can reduce our emissions today. Why wouldn’t we if we are capable? 

ICM:  Back to your twentysomething status, your friends are probably of similar age and similar sensibilities, and they might be very conscious about environmental issues. What do you tell them about your working in the heating oil industry? What’s that story for your generation? 

Dr. Frank: Most of my peers and colleagues make decisions based on their values; many in my generation act in a way that’s environmentally conscious and sustainable. We really do think about future generations. I tell them that a lot of the work that I’ve done—my Ph.D., dissertation and master’s degree—all focuses on reducing emissions and fostering sustainability. If you don’t believe the industries themselves, at least believe the science. Believe the facts in the peer-reviewed literature as well as my studies, and other studies that I’ve read, that support the fact that biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. There are alternatives, and this is one alternative that we can implement today. That’s what I tell a lot of my friends when they ask me about what I’ve done and what I’m doing.

I also talk to them about what I teach in my college classes. I teach the facts about different energy technologies and different fuels, and I have a whole unit of biomass-based fuels and technologies. I show them graphs and charts about emissions. It’s not just me working for a company that wants to promote its product; that’s not what I’m doing. I’m teaching students about the facts of energy technologies and energy policies; that’s what I’m trying to do at NORA as well, educate people about different types of fuels and different alternatives that are more sustainable than conventional fuels. 

The more I inform students of this, the more they understand, “Oh, this can be part of the solution to our energy crisis.”  Maybe when they’re buying a home or when their parents, grandparents or friends are looking at different alternatives, they will think about the information, the facts that I have seen through my research. If people understand the facts, and what is happening, whether it’s in the industry or in the literature, they can then make decisions based on the information and the data, and not just on what they’ve heard or on the opinions of others. ICM

 

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. 

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.

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.  

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29Mar/18

FSA Calculator Revised

The National Oilheat Research Alliance has released the latest update of its popular Fuel Savings Analysis Calculator, a unique tool that accurately predicts the real fuel savings when upgrading an oilfired heating appliance. A technician or sales person can use the FSA to accurately compare predicted fuel use for an existing appliance against a number of new appliance options. The FSA goes beyond the often unreliable AFUE, as it takes into consideration advanced data from the appliance, building and location to show real savings potential.

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10Oct/17

NORA hosts Technical Workshop

 

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.
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20Jul/17

NORA Releases 2018-2019 Budget for Comment

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.

Anyone interested in commenting on this should forward comments, by September 1, 2017, to JHuber@NORAweb.org.
 

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.