Myths vs. Facts
FACT: Bioheat® has been thoroughly tested. It has been deemed a comparable fuel to heating oil by ASTM. It has been endorsed by the Oilheat Manufacturers Association and the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA). Bioheat® is already in thousands of homes providing clean, reliable heat. Because of its renewable component, Bioheat® stands apart from other fuels when it comes to environmental stewardship, energy security and consumer confidence. Bioheat® is here to stay.
FACT: Major equipment manufacturers have been very active in the ASTM process to approve Bioheat® blends up to 5 percent in ASTM D396 and fully support 5 percent biodiesel in their equipment. Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), through funding provided by the National Biodiesel Board and NORA, has conducted an evaluation of B5 and has formally announced that equipment intended to use Bioheat® up to 5 percent is compliant with applicable ASTM fuel standards. The Oilheat Manufacturers Association has endorsed the use of Bioheat®.
FACT: The ASTM specifications have been set so that Bioheat® made with up to 5 percent biodiesel can be handled just as you would handle conventional heating oil. Since Bioheat® is a blend of biodiesel and heating oil, and the finished blends up to 5 percent biodiesel meet the same specs as heating oil, the same management practices used for traditional heating oil should be employed with Bioheat®. In most cases, this is all handled by the fuel dealer and, using these traditional management practices, high-quality Bioheat® has been used successfully in the coldest climates. If you need more information regarding the best practices for addressing cold weather with Bioheat®, the National Biodiesel Board has set up the Biodiesel Education Network (BEN) and a feature called "Ask BEN”. You can get quick answers to your questions at the Ask BEN website: Ask Ben.
FACT: One of the major advantages of Bioheat® is that D396 fuels, containing up to 5 percent biodiesel, can be used in home heating oil equipment in exactly the same way as standard heating oil. No modifications are needed to the equipment. Performance attributes such as lubricity and global climate change are actually improved.
FACT: The ASTM specification for B100 biodiesel used in Bioheat® has a stringent stability parameter as defined by ASTM D6751. This is more stringent than heating oil which has no specification for stability or storage life. The ASTM D6751 specification was set to ensure a biodiesel blend shelf life of a minimum of six months. Most testing indicates blends made with ASTM D6751 biodiesel stay within specification for 12 months or longer in storage. You should treat Bioheat® blends like conventional home heating oil to protect the finished blend from fuel degradation associated with time and temperature.
FACT: Bioheat® is a minimum 2 percent to a maximum 5 percent biodiesel (ASTM D6751) blended with heating oil (ASTM D396). ASTM began work on biodiesel standards in 1993 and approved a stringent standard for B100 biodiesel in 2001. Biodiesel is currently the ONLY non-petroleum based diesel fuel to have an approved ASTM standard. ASTM also formally approved up to 5 percent biodiesel as a fungible component in heating oil (ASTM D396) in 2008. B5 Bioheat® and lower meets the same exact specifications as current petroleum-based heating oil.
FACT: More than $60 million in research and development by the most prominent fuel research institutes in the world was utilized to set the standards for biodiesel and Bioheat®. Biodiesel has been used as a blending stock for No.2 fuels for more than a decade. Independent studies by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Southwest Research Institute, Brookhaven National Laboratory, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and UL have shown that ASTM-grade biodiesel can be blended seamlessly in heating oil with even greater benefits to performance, human health, energy security, reducing dependence on foreign oil, and impact on global climate change.
FACT: In order for a fuel to be called Bioheat®, it can only be made with ASTM D6751 grade biodiesel. Raw vegetable oils, animal fats, or used cooking oils -- and any other product that does not meet ASTM standards -- are NOT biodiesel and may cause serious problems. Beware of “imposter biodiesel” products claiming that they are just as good as biodiesel. Only ASTM D6751 grade biodiesel will provide the trouble-free usage and the benefits that have been proven with more than $60 million in R&D over the last 15 years. A great way to ensure you are getting quality Bioheat® is to purchase from companies certified under the biodiesel industry fuel quality program, BQ-9000. See www.bq-9000.org for more information and a listing of the BQ-9000 approved companies that consistently hit the ASTM quality mark.
FACT: Under the relatively new Renewable Fuel Standard 2 (RFS2), the U.S. EPA has thoroughly evaluated biodiesel and has declared biodiesel an ‘Advanced Biofuel’. Advanced biofuels are only those biofuels produced on existing land and that meet the minimum threshold of more than 50 percent reduction in life cycle carbon emissions compared to petrodiesel. Biodiesel easily meets or exceeds these requirements since the fats and oils used to make biodiesel are grown on existing land as by-products of producing food and provide a more than 80 percent reduction in life cycle CO2 emissions compared to petrodiesel. This recent declaration by EPA makes biodiesel the only commercially available diesel fuel alternative that falls under the “Advanced Biofuel” category of RFS2. Bioheat® is now a cost-effective option to meet the more than 5 billion gallons of “Advanced Biofuels” under the biomass-based diesel and non-differentiated advanced categories of RFS2.
FACT: Biodiesel is a renewable fuel produced each year from oils and fats that are a natural by-product of producing high-quality meats, fried foods, and high-protein soybean meal. In fact, the soybeans used to make biodiesel in the US in 2009 produced enough soybean meal for 72 billion rations of protein. Some studies have even shown that utilizing the by-product soybean oil actually makes the price of soybean meal less expensive. The basic rule of thumb is that when demand for soybean oil increases, the price of the other soybean component (meal) decreases, says a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded study by CENTREC Consulting Group, LLC. Increasing demand for soybean oil benefits livestock feeders through lower meal prices. Biodiesel helps meet our nation’s energy AND food needs without using new land or drilling for -- or importing -- dwindling supplies of fossil fuels.