Why Bioheat® Fuel Is a Renewable Fuel

Date: May 20, 2024

Renewable Biodiesel Blended with Heating Oil


Some heating oil companies in South Carolina now deliver Bioheat® fuel. This is renewable biodiesel fuel blended with ultra-low sulfur heating oil. Bioheat fuel helps contribute to lower greenhouse gas emissions because it burns more cleanly than traditional heating oil. This also saves you money because of improved heating efficiency.

What Is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel, also known as biofuel, is a gallon-for-gallon substitute for petroleum-based fuels, which have a higher carbon intensity. By 2030, it’s estimated that biodiesel will displace hundreds of millions of gallons of conventional heating oil.

Biodiesel is generally produced by agricultural byproducts, including used cooking oil, animal fats, inedible corn oil, soybean oil and canola oil. This puts excess oil and fats that would otherwise be discarded to good use. Food is never sacrificed for fuel in the production of Bioheat fuel.

Bioheat fuel is sourced and produced right here in the United States, supporting local farmers, local industries, and local economies.

In South Carolina, innovative biofuel companies have been using advanced technology to convert woody fiber waste from lumber and paper mills into ethyl levulinate (EL). This can then be converted into an ultra-clean home heating product that replaces petroleum, gallon-for-gallon.

Like other biofuels, EL can be used safely with current home heating oil systems. Besides the recent positive development of ethyl levulinate, studies have also shown the viability of using various types of grass in the production of biofuel.

Three Tiers of Bioheat Fuel

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

  • Bioheat fuel is made up of blends that range from 2% to 5% biodiesel (B2 to B5)
  • Bioheat Plus® fuel represents blends that range from 5% to 20% biodiesel (B5 to B20)
  • Bioheat SuperPlus® fuel designates blends that contain more than 20% biodiesel (B20+)

Bioheat Fuel and Lower Emissions

Biodiesel is considered a biogenic fuel that significantly reduces carbon output. By contrast, when traditional fossil fuels that do not have biodiesel are burned, they take carbon that was stored in soil and put 100% of that carbon into the atmosphere, where it can remain for decades.

In contrast, the combustion of biofuels and other biogenic energy sources recycles carbon-dioxide emissions through renewable plant materials and other biomass feedstocks.

Bioheat fuel cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions significantly because biodiesel achieves emissions reductions of at least 50% compared to petroleum. Using Bioheat fuel instead of traditional heating oil means reductions not only in carbon dioxide, but in sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, and mercury.

What’s Ahead for Bioheat® Fuel?

The end game is to transition to B100 Bioheat fuel (100% biodiesel/biofuel). We’re seeing important progress in this direction. Shortly after the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) updated its standards to include burners that use B100 Bioheat fuel, leading manufacturers announced that production had begun on fully warranted burners with B100-compliant components.

Additionally, the National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has shown that a home heated with 100% biodiesel and using solar panels to produce electricity can reach net-zero carbon emissions quickly — and at an economically viable cost.

All of this is exciting news for everyone in South Carolina who appreciates the many benefits of using heating oil to stay safe and warm but want to do their part to preserve the environment.

Other Renewable Fuels in Use Today

Beyond Bioheat fuel, there are other sustainable products that are transforming how we live our lives while combating the harmful effects of climate change.

  • Renewable diesel is a biomass-produced diesel fuel that differs from biodiesel in several ways. Technically a hydrocarbon, renewable diesel is chemically identical to petroleum diesel. As such, it doesn’t need to be blended with petroleum for use.
  • Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is fuel for aircraft made from renewable biomass and waste resources. It offers airlines the opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint significantly.

Read more about the benefits of Bioheat fuel. [Link]