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

Getting Aggressive With Sustainability

MUNICIPAL FLEET CUTS EMISSIONS BY RUNNING ON 100% BIODIESEL

Ames

The city snowplows in Ames, Iowa, have worked in all types of winter weather. Blizzards. Ice. Subzero temperatures. You name it, they’ve been out in it.

In early 2020, they did something they’ve never done before: run on fully renewable fuel. Using a simple, affordable piece of technology, several municipal snowplows took part in a pilot project to run 100% biodiesel.

“We really feel like we need to do something to change what we’re doing to our environment,” says Rich Iverson, the city’s Fleet Support Manager. “I would strongly suggest to any public official that they take a look at what this could do for sustainability in their communities.”

 

CUTTING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Biodiesel is a sustainable fuel that has been used for decades as a cleaner-burning alternative to petroleum diesel. It is made from renewable resources that would otherwise have no further use, including recycled cooking oil, waste animal fats and vegetable oils.

Traditionally, it’s been blended with petroleum diesel. For example, a common blend is called “B20,” meaning the fuel is 20% biodiesel and 80% petroleum diesel.

Recently, some forward-looking organizations have been using higher blends, including B100, to take even greater advantage of the environmental benefits of biodiesel. B100 reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by up to 86% compared with petroleum diesel.*

The city of Ames is one of those. It’s a natural fit. They’re the hometown of Renewable Energy Group, North America’s largest biodiesel producer. And the city has a long history of being at the forefront of the sustainability movement, including in 1975 becoming the first city in the U.S. to open a waste-to-energy facility.

“We undertook the B100 project because we wanted to be responsible stewards to our planet, to the environment,” Mayor John Haila says. “It’s a tremendous opportunity to make a big impact.”

 

BEING A SUSTAINABILITY LEADER

With support from REG, Ames equipped several trucks to run 100% biodiesel. They’re high-use dump trucks fitted with a blade in the winter and used to haul material for road crews in the warmer months, and they account for 10% of the diesel fuel consumed by the city’s 300-unit fleet.

The B100 trucks were tested right away, with a snowstorm the first weekend. Since then, they’ve run in temperatures as cold as minus 9 degrees Fahrenheit and have made a three-hour roundtrip at highway speeds to pick up road salt.

“We’ve had no issues,” says Justin Clausen, Public Works Operations Manager for the city of Ames. “The operators and service technicians would not hesitate to tell me if something was wrong, and not once have I heard a concern from them.”

B100 has also proven to be an easy way for the city to have an immediate effect on climate change. Like many organizations, Ames has looked into various alternative fuels, but many are cost-prohibitive or are not yet ready to meet their needs, especially with medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

“Going to B100 with this particular technology is extremely practical for us,” Iverson says. “It’s a great first step as we really get aggressive with our sustainability program. It works beautifully.”

With the environmental, performance and ease-of-use advantages, Ames officials say the prospects of expanding B100 usage look good.

“I think the future is extremely bright for biodiesel,” the mayor says. “We’re excited to partner with REG and also lead the way nationally in looking for new ways to be sustainable and good stewards of our environment.”

 

B100 — How It Works

  • Fuel delivery system with a split tank for petroleum diesel in one section and biodiesel in another installed on truck 
  • In cold weather, diesel used on start-up
  • System warms biodiesel and automatically switches truck to 100% biodiesel
  • At shut-off, truck idles for a couple minutes while biodiesel purged from lines

 


 

 

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