How Clean Is Heating Oil?

Oilheat is paving the way to a carbon-neutral future

clean home fuel maineThe vast reductions of sulfur in today’s oilheat have improved this reliable fuel’s efficiency and cleanliness as we anticipate a carbon-neutral future that is simply not too far off. From year to year, heating oil continues to burn more cleanly, and with lower emissions. The lower sulfur content creates fewer deposits on heat exchangers, which makes for easier maintenance and higher efficiency. All of this is great news for the environment—and for household budgets everywhere.

3 Ways Oilheat is Clean and Green

Looking Ahead: The Future of Heating Oil

Home heating oil has become progressively cleaner and more efficient for Maine homeowners over the last few decades. The oilheat industry maintains its commitment to protecting the environment while offering customers comfort, convenience and cost savings.

While every gallon of heating oil in Maine has been ultra-low-sulfur heating oil since 2018, much of that heating oil has been Bioheat® fuel, which is the most refined grade of heating oil available. Another new biofuel on the horizon, EL 100, is also gaining traction. Here’s an overview of each of these fuels, which are keeping us on the road to net-zero carbon emissions.

Bioheat® fuel

The most refined grade of heating oil available today is Bioheat® fuel. Produced domestically, Bioheat fuel is made from a blend of ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and renewable biodiesel. The renewable biodiesel in Bioheat fuel is made from recycled and organic products that can include soybean oil, used cooking oils, inedible corn oil, canola, tallow, fats and algae.

Bioheat fuel has three tiers, based on the percentage of biodiesel it contains:

The use of Bioheat fuel results in a significant reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions, while supporting local industries, local farms and local economies. Switching to Bioheat, which is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for higher-carbon-intensity, petroleum-based fuels, does not require any changes to current, energy-efficient oilheat systems. In fact, running on this cleaner fuel will mean your system is operating more efficiently and you’ll need fewer repairs over time. It’s truly a win-win.

EL 100

Still on the horizon, and coming soon, EL 100 presents yet another clean heating oil option. Biofine Developments of Northeast Inc. has announced that it plans on locally producing ethyl levulinate, a new biofuel that’s made by processing woody fiber waste that comes out of lumber and paper mills. This heating oil is emissions free and, like Bioheat fuel, it can be used safely with current home heating oil systems.

The goal and projection is for EL 100 to be in active production and use by 2023. The goal is for this new organic chemical compound to be created with 100 tons of wood waste per day, resulting in an estimated 3 million gallons of clean heating oil per year. The idea is that any cellulose-based waste, from old boxes to wood pulp (or any wood biomass) to sawdust, will be converted into crude oil through a chemical-free process driven by heat and pressure.

Contact us to find out how you can learn more about how clean heating oil is—and will be in the future!