Technical Publications

Idle Loss Test for Combination Hydronic Systems

NORA Test Protocol
March 2, 2023

This test method applies to residential appliances which meet both space heat and domestic hot water loads and which include any volume of water maintained hot during idle (no load) periods.

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Yellow Metal & Fuels

IASH 2022
17th International Conference on Stability, Handling & Use of Liquid Fuels
Dresden, Germany
September 11-15, 2022

The practical implications of this NORA research are that exposure to copper can have a strong impact on petroleum heating oil and biodiesel. However, through extensive testing the NORA team has not found operational effects nor strong reason to justify replacement of copper lines with other materials.

Paper Title:
Monitoring Biodiesel Blends in Heating Applications: Effects of Exposure Conditions

Link to NORA Published Paper
Link to Conference Presentation

Equipment Upgrade Incentive Project
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
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 
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.

Combustion Tests of Ethyl Levulinate  in a Commercial Boiler 
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. 

Report on Pump Cycling Test
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. 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 as a control. 

Nitrile Rubber & B20 Biodiesel Blends
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 
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
11/ 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
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

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 and water heating. 

Evaluation of Biodiesel Source Type on Cad Cell Resistance 
This test was done to provide additional data on the impact of biodiesel on the resistance of an oilburner cad cell.

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. 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
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
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 9/2007
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.

Ultra-low Sulfur Diesel
Fuel/Heating Oil Market 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
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,
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.

Assessment of the National Oilheat Research Alliance Research and Development Program 2001 – 2008