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Soy-Based Home Heating Takes Hold in NYC

Bioheat blend incorporates 2% biodiesel into traditional home heating oil

Published on: Oct 22, 2012

This month, New York City implemented new regulations that require all home heating oil to contain at least 2% biodiesel, a blend called "Bioheat."

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2010 signed an air quality bill which included the Bioheat provision for heating homes and buildings, though phase-in for the blend was complete Oct. 1. Another New York state bill also required a switch to Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil, which took place in July.

"In passing this legislation, we set the stage to prevent the burning of 20 million gallons of petroleum each year," said City Councilman James F. Gennaro, who sponsored the legislation. "This is the carbon equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road in New York City. But it's only the first step. Between the statewide requirement for ultra-low sulfur heating oil and this landmark Bioheat mandate, we are really starting to see the green future of home heating."

Bioheat blend incorporates 2% biodiesel into traditional home heating oil
Bioheat blend incorporates 2% biodiesel into traditional home heating oil

Biodiesel is made from agricultural byproducts and co-products such as soybean oil, and another abundant resource in New York City: recycled restaurant grease.

"Our members truly recognize Bioheat as the evolution of oilheat," said John Maniscalco, CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association, which strongly supported the Bioheat mandate.  "NYOHA has worked closely with the National Biodiesel Board in ensuring that our member companies and their customers recognize the many environmental and other benefits of Bioheat and we are proud to say that Bioheat usage has already increased dramatically.  We are just getting started."

Both the United Soybean Board and the National Biodiesel Board support the new regulations.

Biofuels are welcomed in this part of the world and embraced by home heating oil representatives," said Lewis Bainbridge, soybean farmer from Ethan, S.D., and farmer-director for United Soybean Board. "Everyone is working together to promote Bioheat."

A special education and outreach program, including videos, information and industry updates, was created to help customers understand the new blend. Paul Nazzaro, who is spearheads the Bioheat program for the National Biodiesel Board, said the consumer is the ultimate benefactor of the new fuel, but the industry has been highly involved in making it work.

"The entire petroleum supply chain deserves credit for making the changes needed to embrace blending biodiesel with heating oil to deliver Bioheat," Nazzaro said.

Bioheat is expected to replace 20 million gallons of petroleum annually.

Biodiesel used to supplement home heating oil also is eligible to meet the Renewable Fuels Standard, according to the National Biodiesel Board. The RFS requires that 1 billion gallons of biomass-based diesel be blended into the fuel supply in 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency announced an increase to this requirement last month.

No other city has a Bioheat requirement in place, but several states have passed requirements that will go into effect when contingent states pass similar laws, the NBB said.

Watch the United Soybean Board video about the new blend and visit the Bioheat website, www.bioheatonline.com, for more information.