NORA has done a substantial amount of technical work. This area offers some of the more important research from NORA and other sources.

  • Report in Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project (November2021)
    This report describes the results of an analysis of the energy savings associated with the upgrade of 6,412 home heating boiler systems under this program. Savings are estimated based on two methods, the first of which is analysis of fuel delivery and degree day data before and after the equipment change out.
  • Best Practices Guide for Fuels with a High Cloud Point in Outside Tanks (June 2021)
    Because the cloud point of pure biodiesel is greater than that of pure petroleum heating oil, increasing blends of biodiesel in a mixture of the two will have increasing cloud points. A B20 blend made from a fuel oil sample with a cloud point of -20°F and a biodiesel sample with a cloud point of 35°F will have a cloud point somewhere between the two and closer to that of the fuel oil than that of the biodiesel. However, a B80 blend made from the same fuel oil and biodiesel samples will have a cloud point that is closer to that of the biodiesel portion. The research performed in this study examined various methods as potential solutions to this concern. All tests included an external source of heat, while some, in addition, utilized insulating material. This report outlines these tests and suggests the most effective methods to keep fuels with high cloud point from freezing in outdoor tanks.
  • Heat Pump Project Report (June 2021)
    Modern low-ambient, mini-split heat pumps offer the potential to provide both heating and cooling without the cost associated with duct retrofit. It is common for these heat pumps to be installed with the existing heating system. The focus of this work has been hybrid arrangements of this type involving hydronic heating as the existing base system. In such a hybrid arrangement, mini splits offer the potential to achieve high efficiency during milder parts of the heating season, when traditional fuel-fired boilers may have low efficiency due to light load and cycling.
  • Combustion Tests of Ethyl Levulinate Biofuel in a Commercial Boiler (December 2020)
    The goal of this test was to obtain a set of data that provides a direct comparison of the combustion performance of EL and petroleum No. 2 in a commercial boiler under carefully controlled, steady state conditions. These tests were done in the development lab of Carlin Combustion Technologies, a major burner manufacturer in North Haven, Connecticut on November 24, 2020.  Tests were done at a nominal input rate of 1.4 million Btu/hr.  NORA does not have in-lab capability to test at this high rate. For comparison, a typical residential boiler has an input rate of 0.14 million Btu/hr.  Further, testing in the field, in an operating commercial building, does not provide the ability to run under steady state conditions continuously.

  • Report on Pump Cycling Test (August 24, 2020)
    This study investigated the effects prolonged exposure to biodiesel may have on the pump piston and other parts of the pump by cycling them up to 500,000 cycles with various blends of biodiesel up to B100. The number of cycles simulates ~50 years of field operation given an estimated ~10,000 cycles annually. The same tests were also performed on pumps with No. 2 heating oil (which can contain up to 5% biodiesel in the Downstate New York area; hence it will be called B5) as a control. There were also scheduled break points to examine the condition of the pumps visually and determine cutoff performance.

  • Nitrile Rubber and B20 Biodiesel Blends (March 2020)
    This 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.

  • Environmental Benefits of Biodiesel & the Renewable Fuel Standard (January 2019)
    A detailed look at U.S. biodiesel’s place in the word from an environmental impact point of view.
  • B20 to B100 Blends as Heating Fuels (November 2018)
    Released by Brookhaven National Laboratory at the end of 2018, the document gathers in one place, numerous research projects looking at how biodiesel (ASTM 6751) performs, at various blend levels, when combined with petroleum heating oil for space heating applications.
  • Future Fuel (September 2018) 
    Understanding the viability of advanced biofuels and combination technologies to deliver net zero carbon combustion in the future and examining advanced biofuels as an alternative to electric heat pumps and other fossil fuel combustion in tomorrow’s homes.

  • GHG Resource Analysis for Residential Boilers (June 2018)
    This analysis compares the relative energy resources consumed and GHG impacts associated with pipeline natural gas, ultra-low sulfur heating oil, and soybean-based biodiesel blends (B5, B20 and B100) used for residential space heating boilers and water heating. Consideration was given not only to impacts at the point of ultimate energy consumption — i.e., the efficiency of use at the residence — but also to those impacts associated with the production, conversion, transmission and distribution of energy to the household.

  • Evaluation of Biodiesel Source Type on Cad Cell Resistance (August 2017)
    This test was done to provide additional data on the impact of biodiesel on the resistance of an oilburner cad ce
  • Bioheat® User Survey (Fall 2016)
    This survey was sent to three identified groups, including companies which have registered as users of the Bioheat® (bioldiesel blends for heating applications) logo; company owners, executive management and service managers. A total of 139 respondents were received. Overall, the responses did not indicate a clear technical concern with biodiesel use. Some respondents indicated increased service requirements, but the distribution of the technical areas were similar to those observed in surveys conducted before biodiesel use.
  •  Biodiesel Handling and Use Guide (Fifth Edition 2016)
    This guide from the Department of Energy, 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.

  • Final Report: Resource Analysis of Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Residential Boilers for Space Heating and Hot Water (July 2008)
    This analysis presents the total resource energy requirements and fuel cycle GHG emissions for heating services supplied by high-efficiency natural gas, heating oil and biofuel products based on their typical usage in five market demand regions of the United States.

  • Bioheat® Technical Steering Committee (October 15, 2015 meeting report)
    The Bioheat® Technical Steering Committee (BTSC) is a joint effort between the National Biodiesel Board and the National Oilheat Research Alliance for the purpose of identifying, prioritizing, and advising on the necessary pre‐competitive industry research needed to support higher levels of biodiesel in the Bioheat® market.

  • Developing a Renewable Biofuel Option for the Home Heating Sector
    Biodiesel combined with traditional heating oil offers a new cleaner fuel

  • Elastomer and Pump Durability of BIiodiesel in Heating Oil Equipment Pts. 1 & 2
    Compatibility between biodiesel meeting ASTM 6751 and NBR (nitrile) elastomer seal materials historically used in oil burners is demonstrated to at least the B20 level.

  • Biodiesel/ Heating Oil Blends – Evaluation of Yellow Metals and Tank Sludge
    Identify the technical data needed to support higher levels of biodiesel than the current 5% allowed in D396 fuel oil in heating oil posed two additional areas of study in preparation for taking the data to ASTM.

  • Interaction Between Biodiesel and Pre-existing Heating Oil Tank Sediment 9/30/07
    It has been reported that biodiesel fuels, when mixed with middle distillate petroleum fuels such as diesel or No. 2 heating oil, have a solvency effect, which can clean pre-existing tank deposits and lead to increased maintenance for downstream components such as filters, at least initially.  The purpose of the work described in this report was to quantify this solvency effect as it may impact preexisting sediments on the bottom of heating oil storage tanks.
  • Guidance Document Risk-Based Corrective Action (RBCA) for Residential and Commercial Heating Oil Systems – NORA has developed this document based on experience with and review of the wide-range of different approaches to corrective action for releases from heating oil systems and considering the approaches to corrective action for petroleum releases from underground storage tanks. It provides a consistent, technically-defensible and easily-implemented process.

  • The interchangeability of B5 biodiesel within residential oil burner appliances for use with No.2 fuel Oil
  • Low-Sulfur Fuel Study –
    Study to evaluate the impact of low sulfur fuels on the industry.

  • Brookhaven Efficiency Study 
    Understanding efficiency is key to improving efficiency. This study evaluated the typical combination units used in the industry.
  • Performance of Integrated Hydronic Systems, December 2007
    It is shown that low load and idle energy losses can have a very large impact on the total annual energy use and that the potential energy savings associated with replacing old equipment with newer, high efficiency equipment with low losses at idle or low load can be in the 25% range. These savings are larger than simple combustion efficiency measurements would indicate.

  • NOx- How Low is Achievable with Oilheat Combustion System?
    This work has been focused on exploring the technical feasibility of achieving NOx emissions under 10 ppm with a nitrogen free fuel. The work to date has shown that this goal may be achievable, at least in the lab. Routes which have been developed towards achieving this goal include: 1) increased recirculation rates with current low-NOx burner designs with special provisions for start up, 2) new burner head designs and 3) oil vaporization followed by combustion in radiant, porous media.

  • Residential UST Static Test Process, October 2005
    Manual Tank Gauging (MTG), also called static testing, is an effective, easy and inexpensive release detection method for small volume underground storage tanks (USTs). This study presents the justification and procedures to unitize MTG for leak detection in residential home heating oil tanks.

  • Five Year Oil Combustion Plan, September 2002
  • Assessment of the National Oilheat Research Alliance Research and Development Program 2001 – 2008
  • NORA research project funding 2001 – 2009