Over the past two decades, the heating oil supply pool has been increasingly cleansed of sulfur and blended with renewable, clean-burning biodiesel to create ultra-low-sulfur Bioheat® Fuel. Commonly delivered to customers today as five- to 20-percent biodiesel blends (B5 to B20), some of today’s forward-thinking fuel retailers are already delivering blends of up to 40 and 50 percent biodiesel, which is cleaner and more renewable than both natural gas and electricity. Put another way, there are heating fuel customers right now whose conversion to electric heat would represent an increase in their carbon footprint.
According to global management consultancy A.T. Kearney, a decarbonization plan that increases biodiesel supply to the Northeast, while supporting the ongoing commercialization of complementary biofuels, represents the most realistic and responsible path forward to net-zero home heating.
Said Kearney’s Yuri Kopylovski, “Electric air source heat pumps claim to lower emissions and costs over time, but they have the highest cost to upgrade from an oil heat system and often require a supplemental heat source in very cold weather. They also rely on electricity that’s generated at peak usage times when the share of renewable electricity generation is relatively low and carbon emissions are higher than proponents often claim. In comparison, using B100 is cheaper to upgrade from an oil heat system, more efficient in cold climates, and has lower carbon emissions compared to the alternatives.”