Bioheating Oil 101
Moyer Indoor | Outdoor is proud to offer Bioheating oil to all of our customers. Bioheating oil is the cleanest, greenest heating fuel available on the market today. As a customer, your heating oil purchase means you are part of the solution in creating a better world today and for future generations.
You’ve got questions – we’ve got answers. We’ll help you understand what bioheating oil is, why we are now providing it, and why we think it’s so great.
Q: What is biodiesel or bioheating oil?
A: Bioheating oil is a clean-burning, renewable fuel made from a blend of American soybean oil and ultra-low sulfur heating oil. It can be used in compression-ignition (diesel) engines or regular heat equipment with little or no modifications. Biofuel is simple to use, biodegradable, nontoxic, and essentially free of sulfur and aromatics.
Q: How does biodiesel differ from ethanol?
A: Biodiesel is made most frequently from high protein feedstocks like soybean oil through the transesterification process, but can be made from various types of animal fats and vegetable oils as well. New feedstocks like pennycress, castor, jatropha, algae and palm oil are constantly being explored as additional biofuel options for the market. Biodiesel is blended with diesel fuel and is used in diesel engines and home heating oil equipment. Ethanol is an alcohol fuel made from sugar-based plant materials such as corn, sugar cane, or grasses through a fermentation process. Ethanol is blended with gasoline in gasoline engine vehicles.
Q: How is biofuel made?
A. Virgin soybeans (or another plant-based feedstock) are crushed and pressed for oil. There are two byproducts from the pressing – mash and soybean oil. The mash is fed to animals and included in human products (ie. Protein bars). The remaining oil undergoes a chemical process called transesterification – glycerin is separated from the fats and vegetable oils of the feedstock. The glycerin is sold for use in the manufacturing of soaps and other household products. The remaining purified methyl esters are in fact Biodiesel that can be blended with diesel or #2 heating oil fuel for diesel vehicles or heating oil systems. Nothing is wasted in the process and everything is used for its’ intended purpose.
Q: Is biodiesel cleaner than natural gas?
A: Testing has shown that a biofuel blend of 20% or higher when mixed with ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel burns cleaner than natural gas. Testing conducted by the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) found that a bioheating oil blend of 80% low-sulfur heating oil and 20% biodiesel (B20) 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. Using biodiesel reduces sulfur dioxide emissions by as much as 80% or more. Nitrogen oxide emissions are lowered by about 20%. In addition, carbon dioxide emissions can be lowered by 20%.
Q: What are the advantages of bioheating oil?
A: Bioheating oil is safe and provides a cleaner, more complete and energy efficient burn. It is a renewable energy source that reduces global warming gas emissions; it is also non-toxic, biodegradable, and suitable for sensitive environments. It actually extends equipment life and reduces periodic maintenance intervals. Bioheating oil is made domestically from agricultural or recycled resources, reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and creating jobs here at home.
Q: Do I need special equipment to burn bioheating oil?
A: No. Bioheating oil can be used in any conventional heating oil burner today with no system modifications required. While bioheating oil can increase burner life and reduce maintenance, regular heating system inspections and periodic maintenance are always good practice.
Q: How much biodiesel is blended with heating oil to make bioheating oil?
A: Bioheating oil can be anywhere from 1%-100% biodiesel mixed with heating oil or diesel fuel. Bioheat® fuel blends typically range between 2% and 5% (Also referred to as B2 and B5). However, there are many companies that are comfortable blending 20% on a regular basis, and some that have customers that continually request 100% biodiesel.
Q: Should I expect build-up or residue in my tank due to bioheating oil?
A: No, in fact, using bioheating oil leaves your tank cleaner than traditional heating oil. There is a reduction in soot build up and nozzle carbon build-up. In the long run, this reduces the need for maintenance and service costs.
Q: Does bioheating oil give off as much heat as regular heating oil?
A: While conventional heating oil has a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit – this number refers to the heat output of the particular unit) than Bioheating oil, the benefits from bioheating oil are felt in the cleaning nature of the oil. Bioheating oil lubricates the heating system and burns cleaner, reducing service and cleaning costs to the owner. This cleaner burning property provides a more efficient burn all season long. With petroleum heating oil soot and deposits accumulate over the heating season decreasing the efficiency of the burner resulting in the need to use more fuel to get the same amount of heat. Bioheating oil has the highest BTU content of any alternative fuel.
Q: I still have regular heating oil in my tank – can you deliver bioheating oil anyway?
A: Certainly! You do not have to have an empty tank to get bioheating oil. As bioheating oil is a blend of vegetable and conventional petroleum-based heating oil, it will mix with the oil already in your tank and you can start using it today.
Q: Is bioheating oil more expensive than conventional heating oil?
A: Bioheating oil may cost a few cents more per gallon (but sometimes it costs less – depends on the market fluctuations) but we believe the price difference between conventional oil and bioheating oil is worth the difference due to its natural cleaning agents. You will save money in the long run as your system runs more efficiently throughout the heating season and burns less fuel.
Contact Moyer Indoor | Outdoor at 215-799-2003 to learn more.