New Alliance to Promote Biodiesel Heating Oil

John Davis

An alliance of heating oil marketers, biodiesel makers and soybean growers could help put more Bioheat … a mix of biodiesel and conventional home heating oil … in homes and could dramatically increase the amount of biodiesel used in this country, especially on the East Coast, while keeping homes in that area warm with green heat.

During a press conference this morning from the Massachusetts Bioheat Conference in Boston, Michael Ferrante, President, Massachusetts Oilheat Council; Joel Thorsrud, United Soybean Board leader and a farmer from North Dakota; and Paul Nazzaro, the National Biodiesel Board’s petroleum liaison, announced their partnership to get all heating oil to have a 5 percent blend of soy biodiesel.

“The United States uses close to 8 billion gallons of heating oil annually. Even if we only have a B5 blend, this could utilize nearly 450 million gallons of biodiesel annually,” says Thorsrud.

Nazzaro says, eventually, they would like to get the blend up to B20. And he doesn’t believe there’ll be any issues getting the soy biodiesel from the Midwest to the East.

“It’s been done for years. At this point, we’re talking rail and truck, and there’s a high level of confidence that that demand could be met throughout the seasons.” Nazzaro adds there are some pipeline problems, especially since the aviation industry does not want ethanol or biodiesel in those lines. But he believes those issues will be resolved.

When asked about criticisms regarding mandating the use of biodiesel in heating oil, Ferrante says his association would endorse Bioheat, regardless of any requirements.

“We will take either a mandate or voluntary approach to embracing biofuels.” He admits that a mandate might not be a good fit in other states, but he thinks heating fuel marketers will embrace the biodiesel-based fuel.

The group also believes that Bioheat will be cost-competitive to the 100 percent petroleum heating oils.

You can hear more of the press conference in the player below.

Audio, Biodiesel