ASTM International, an organization which sets industry consensus standards for fuels and lubricants, has voted to approve performance specifications for blends up 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.
“Westmore Fuel has been a pioneer in BioHeat®. We’ve been delivering this superior fuel to our customers since 2008. Delivering B20 BioHeat® not only helps preserve our environment but also means our fuel is cleaner than natural gas,” said General Manager Rick Bologna.
“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.
“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.
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 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.