20Jul/15

NORA Releases Procedures for Proper Oil Tank Securement

During severe flood events, such as those occurring from Hurricane Irene and Super-Storm Sandy, many coastal and low elevation inland areas were subjected to high water conditions. As a result, a number of outdoor above-ground home heating oil tanks were dislodged and, in some cases, caused property damage.

In response to the combined effects of these events, the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island (OHILI) and the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA), in collaboration with local government agencies and oil heat industry experts, have developed this Recommended Practice (RP) in an effort to mitigate these problems in future flood events.

The research, testing and approval of this RP went through the National Fire Protection (NFPA) 31 Technical Committee and was balloted successfully for publication as a reference document.

This RP should be used as guidance when installing new tanks or upgrading existing installations.

Get it here.

 

14Jul/15

Oilheat America Launches Social Media Sites

Oilheat America, the leading source for information on the benefits of using heating oil for space and hot water heating, has expanded its public outreach efforts by launching new Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+ pages. Internet-connected computer and mobile device users can visit and follow or subscribe to these pages by clicking the social media icons at OilheatAmerica.com.

As with OilheatAmerica.com, social media updates will focus on Oilheat’s core attributes: Safe, Efficient, Clean, Abundant and Independent while including information on Bioheat®, the new “oilheat” containing a renewable biodiesel blend.
Oilheat America’s social media pages will be updated with links to information found on the Oilheat America website. These updates will then be shared by followers and subscribers, as well as social media users who find them via friends’ timelines or boosted (sponsored) posts.

Built to be friendly and accessible to the widest possible audience, the new social media platforms will connect Oilheat America with consumers, business owners, policymakers and anyone else who is interested in heating oil. Oilheat America looks to leverage the power of social media to spread knowledge of heating oil and to strengthen ongoing dialogues with the individuals who use it and the organizations that buy, sell and distribute it.

Oilheat America was re-launched by NORA in January of 2015 and has shown spirited activity with three and a half thousand visitors to date.

Oilheat America is sponsored by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). NORA  was authorized by Congress in 2000 to generate funding allowing 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 about NORA and its programs or services, call 703-340-1660 or visit the web site, NORAweb.org.

09Jul/15

Sulfur and Bioheat Requirements in the Northeast States

The Northeastern states are moving steadily towards improving the characteristics of home heating oil. Through the reduction of sulfur to almost negligible levels, the new heating oil burns cleaner and service intervals on heating appliances can be extended, providing consumers with more efficient heating and fewer service calls.

BioheatTM, the addition of biodiesel to heating oil, results in a exciting clean, carbon friendly fuel with a renewable component.

The New England Fuel Institute has compiled a chart of where each of the major oilheating states in the Northeast stand on the transition.

Get the chart here.

13May/15

NORA Releases “Biodiesel in Home Heating” Report

Pursuant to Public Law 113-79 (the Agricultural Act of 2014), Congress required NORA to prepare a report on the utilization rate and analysis of the use of biofuels in Oilheating equipment.

The report titled, Developing a Renewable Biofuel Option for the Home Heating Sector was released on May 13, 2015 and is most comprehensive report of its kind.

Get the complete report here.

Some of the key components of the report:

  • One of the biggest transitions in heating oil has been the move to ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO). This fuel lowers maintenance, improves efficiency and reduces pollution from heating systems.
  • Biodiesel blends at 20% (B-20) with ultra-low sulfur heating oil (ULSHO) are lower in Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG) than natural gas when evaluated over 100 years, while blends of 2% (B-2) or more are lower in GHG than natural gas when evaluated over twenty years.
  • Biodiesel blended at 5 percent would require approximately 300 million gallons of biodiesel produced per year. Assuming the biodiesel industry average of 50 million gallons per year per plant. Bioheat® would be responsible for 6 plants built and continuously operated. Thus, nearly 270 full time jobs can be directly attributed to Bioheat®.
  • Studies on the operation of Bioheat® on the basic burner operation with biodiesel blends at B-20 (at least) is the same as with unblended heating oil.
  • NORA (the Alliance) and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) have communicated the value of using biodiesel and selling Bioheat®. The Alliance features information about Bioheat® on its consumer website, OilheatAmerica.com. The NBB has a webpage, Bioheatonline.com that describes the advantages of Bioheat®. Further, the Alliance and its affiliated state associations have worked to provide education on this product to consumers and retail oil companies through the use of mass media and informational brochures.
  • State and local governments have utilized a number of strategies to encourage the use of biofuels in their communities. It is often necessary to encourage its use with incentives or mandates to develop the infrastructure and overall market acceptance for a new fuel.
04Feb/15

NORA Commissions Energy Efficiency Programs Report

Recognizing the importance of energy efficiency for both the US consumer and for the retail heating oil companies that service them, NORA is developing a new energy efficiency program. NORA’s commitment to energy efficiency is so strong that fifteen percent of NORA collections will be spent on the program.

In order to have a good understanding of existing energy efficiency programs and to establish a baseline, NORA commissioned Warm Thoughts Communications,Clifton, NJ to review a select group of state energy programs. This review was recently completed and the report Understanding the Energy Efficiency Landscape, and Implications for NORA Initiatives has been issued.

This report describes various existing state programs and reviews several particularly successful programs and their relationship to the retail oil dealers who are the backbone of NORA.

The report’s primary recommendation for NORA is to facilitate the development of energy efficiency programs for retail service companies. This would provide companies an opportunity to provide additional services to their customers, improve their workforce and enhance energy efficiency. A NORA committee is now examining the types of materials that should be developed to facilitate this program.

It should be noted that this report is not official NORA policy, but does provide guidance for moving forward in this critical area.

23Jan/15

NORA Launches the New OilheatAmerica.com

The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA)  launched a completely new version of  OilheatAmerica.com, its consumer information website, on Tuesday, January 20, 2015.
oh america web cap

New OIlheatAmerica.com

NORA, working with Primedia, identified the core attributes of Oilheat – Safe, Renewable, Efficient, Clean, Domestic, Abundant and Independent. New content was then created to explain each attribute and how it benefits the consumer. Designed and developed for today’s Internet user, the new site features a clean design, shorter copy, and a responsive design for ease and accessibility from mobile devices, smartphones and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. The wealth of valuable Oilheat information from the previous incarnation of OilheatAmerica was maintained in the expansive Knowledge Base section, including the FAQs and Equipment sections.

John Huber, NORA president, said, “We are so pleased with the updated information and design of the new OilheatAmerica.  By focusing on the core attributes of Oilheat and the growing audience on mobile devices, today’s launch of OilheatAmerica provides additional access to consumers and direct support to the men and women who are the Oilheat industry.”

New to the site are expanded information on Bioheat® Fuel and state mandates for ULSHO and biofuels, rotating “quick facts,” and sections developed specifically for Commercial and Industrial Users, Home Buyers and Sellers, Real Estate Professionals, Builders and HVAC Professionals, and Home Inspectors.

NORA was authorized by Congress in 2000 to provide funding that would allow the Oilheating industry to provide more efficient and more reliable heat and hot water to the American consumer. The four key arms of NORA are Consumer Education, Professional Education, improving Energy Efficiency and Safety, and Research.

05Jan/15

Project Opportunity Notice Deemed a Success

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.

“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.

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®

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.”

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


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

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:

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.


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

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

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.