The heating oil industry is continually providing consumers with more efficient, cleaner products. Retailers are moving to virtually eliminate heating oil’s sulfur content and boost its biofuel content. Renewable energy can also make oilheat equipment more efficient. The industry sees solar technology as a key component of heating oil systems because the use of solar panels can allow consumers to conserve heating oil.
Having already decreased particulate matter – sometimes called soot – by reducing heating oil’s sulfur content, the oilheat industry is pushing toward an ultra low sulfur fuel that contains just 15 parts per million of sulfur.
About 300 U.S. oilheat retailers are already offering their customers Bioheat®, a breakthrough blend of heating oil and biodiesel. Many consumers in the region are using Bioheat® containing 2 percent biodiesel called B2 to reduce their carbon footprint. With the popularity of this blend, Massachusetts has passed a law requiring oilheat and diesel to contain 2 percent biofuel starting before July 2010. The state’s target rises to 5 percent biofuel, which existing furnaces and boilers can use without upgrades, in 2013.
To cut greenhouse gases further, the industry is moving toward oilheat with a 20 percent biodiesel blend called B20, which will create a new market for American farmers and soybean processors. Some of the nation's nearly 300 Bioheat® retailers, such as Frontier Energy in Maine, are already offering the B20 blend.