The heating oil industry remains committed to helping the Commonwealth reach the net-zero carbon emissions goals outlined in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2050. And thanks to the advancement of the industry’s solutions, significant carbon reduction can be achieved immediately.
Heating oil companies in Massachusetts continue following a proven pathway to reduce carbon emissions (CO2) with their embrace of Bioheat® fuel. This is a clean-burning blend of ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and renewable biodiesel — also referred to as advanced biofuel — that is produced with recycled and organic materials such as animal fats, used cooking oil and vegetable oils. This renewable liquid fuel is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and is produced under rigid specifications.
Some Massachusetts heating oil companies that started off delivering Bioheat fuel blends with 2% biodiesel (known as B2) are now offering a B20 blend. And retailers who are registered with the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard are delivering blends above B20 if the fuel meets the program’s rigid specifications.
Meanwhile, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and Clean Fuels Alliance America continue to pursue research on making B100 Bioheat fuel a reality.
Bioheat fuel requires little or no heating system modifications and is readily available today. Most importantly, Bioheat fuel offers a responsible pathway to carbon reduction that supports families and local businesses. That’s because Bioheat fuel can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 86% compared to traditional petroleum heating oil, according to Clean Fuels Alliance America.
Advanced biofuel for use in Bioheat® fuel is now being produced at more than 75 production plants around the country. Today, these facilities produce about 3.2 billion gallons of biodiesel and renewable liquid fuels each year. Biofuel production isn’t just about achieving a cleaner environment. It is about building a stronger economy too. The industry supports nearly 60,000 jobs and generates billions of dollars in gross domestic product, household income and tax revenues
Right here in Massachusetts, heating oil companies can turn to leading suppliers such as Boston-based World Energy and Cape Cod Biofuels, which partners with more than 1,000 restaurants on the Cape and South Shore to collect about one million gallons of used cooking oil each year.
This product is then recycled into biodiesel for home and commercial heating purposes. Other significant regional suppliers include Lake Erie Biofuels/HeroBx and Chevron Renewable Energy Group. And recently, Northeast Biodiesel began operations in Greenfield, Massachusetts. The company expects to produce 1.75 million gallons of biodiesel per year.
Over the last couple of years, you may have heard about the clean energy goals and net-zero emissions targets that are mandated in Massachusetts by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008. Massachusetts aims to be a pioneering state in the fight against climate change, and the renewable liquid heating fuel industry is playing an important role to make that a reality.
To achieve these critical clean energy goals, our energy mix must be both reliable and renewable. Biodiesel and Bioheat fuel are renewable by definition and are having an immediate impact on reducing carbon emissions across the state. Biodiesel supply is abundant, and the infrastructure is in place to significantly increase supply even further.
But reliability isn’t just about supply. It’s also about the service and support heating oil consumers receive throughout the heating season. The combination of a reliable product that provides incredible energy output, reliable systems that perform at high efficiency levels and reliable local energy providers is an unbeatable combination. It will allow the industry to continue to deliver superior service at the same time it is drastically reducing carbon for our communities.