Gaining an Edge with Bioheat® Blended Fuel

Hart Home Comfort has evolved many times over its history. One of its more recent changes is blending heating oil with biodiesel to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits. 

The Biodiesel Difference

Hart Home Comfort has come a long way from operating a fledgling company in the back of a gas station. Through a blend of patience and industry expertise, Ray Hart Sr. has evolved his business into a leading heating oil company in the country’s largest metropolis — New York City.

Hart was introduced to the heating oil business through part-time COD deliveries. Purchasing a terminal on Long Island then provided an avenue for him into the transportation market.

In 2006, an employee recommended that Hart Home Comfort explore biodiesel. Capitalizing on his existing infrastructure, Hart moved ahead and has never looked back. For heating oil customers, the company began by offering Bioheat® blended fuel, which is a blend of heating oil and biodiesel. Hart Home Comfort started with a B2 blend before quickly moving up to B20. 

“When we started, we were attracted by biodiesel being an American-made fuel. We also felt we had a responsibility to future generations to be proactive in delivering a cleaner fuel for the environment,” Hart says. “Now, Bioheat® also gives us an economic advantage.” 

It also gives their customers an economic advantage in the form of a New York state tax credit. That credit returns to the customer 1 cent for every 1 percent of biodiesel per gallon blended into traditional heating oil. 

“Claiming the tax credit is a very easy process for our customers, and it gives them another reason to embrace Bioheat® blended fuel in addition to the environmental and performance benefits,” Hart says.

Hart Home Comfort only offers Bioheat® blended fuel. From April 2017 to April 2018, the company sold over 8 million gallons, with more than 2 million gallons of that being biodiesel. Its New Hyde Park terminal thru-puts approximately 13 million to 15 million gallons of heating oil annually and another 4 million to 5 million gallons of biodiesel.

“We want to market a good, reliable Bioheat® blended fuel product,” Hart says. “With the introduction of low-sulfur heating oil and the near-zero sulfur content of biodiesel, it gives us a really good marketing edge.”   

The Bottom Line

Economics

Bioheat® blended fuel gives the company a financial advantage

Business

Improved customer satisfaction thanks to:

  • The state tax credit, which puts money back in customers' pockets
  • Offering a cleaner burning fuel

How Proactive Tank Management Promotes Better Quality Fuel

Ag-Land FS, Inc., provides more than 1,000,000 gallons of reliable biodiesel every year thanks to an integrated quality assurance process.

Clean tanks are critical to biodiesel’s success.

John Papenhause, energy consultant at Ag-Land FS, Inc., believes that a successful biodiesel blended fuel program begins with clean tanks.

“If you have existing bulk plant storage tanks, I strongly recommend thoroughly cleaning the tanks,” says Papenhause. “Next, make sure your customer fuel tanks are clean.”

The Ag-Land FS sales team inspects and cleans customer fuel storage tanks before biodiesel blended fuel or straight No. 2 ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) is delivered to a farm or commercial account. Then they inspect customer tanks twice annually — in the spring and fall — to proactively identify potential issues.

“If we make sure that tanks are good and clean, we know we’re not going to have problems downstream,” says Papenhause. “There are a lot of ins and outs related to tank maintenance, and it cannot be taken for granted. We make the effort to check the tanks. If we need to clean them, we clean them.”

Fuel filtering leads to higher quality products.

Ag-Land FS goes one step further to ensure they deliver the highest quality fuel by filtering all fuel in and out of their bulk plant using a 10-micron filter. Plus, they added filters to delivery trucks, ensuring the biodiesel blended fuel delivered to customers meets their strict quality standards.

Front line employee training is key to customer relationships.

Ag-Land FS provides training on biodiesel to their sales team and delivery truck drivers. Because they are on the front line with customers, it’s critical that they understand every aspect of the biodiesel program.

“From our perspective, the training wasn’t difficult,” says Papenhause. “We demonstrated that we’re bringing in a quality product, the B99 is stored in a heated tank, the blended fuel was going into clean tanks, and it would be filtered in and out of the bulk plant and delivery trucks. The sales and delivery team trusted us, and we followed through on our commitment. That’s what has led to our success.”

"Back in 2002, we began offering biodiesel blended fuel to our customers and it was so new that we had to handle the biodiesel in 5 gallon buckets. We’ve learned a lot over the years, and we strive to ensure we maintain stringent fuel standards."
John Papenhause, Energy Management Specialist, Ag-Land FS, Inc. 

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