Bioheat® Fuel Health Benefits
Bioheat® Fuel = Cleaner Air in Your Home
Bioheat® is making renewable energy a reality and our environment healthier. Laboratory and in-home testing have confirmed that Bioheat® fuel burns cleaner and keeps heating systems running longer than standard heating oil alone.
Tests showed that the use of Bioheat® in a standard home oil burner resulted in a substantial reduction in unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter compared to emissions from distillate fuels.
The EPA estimates that their top twelve air enforcement actions to reduce these pollutants will result in health benefits valued at up to $15 billion to include the reduction of the following:
• 680-1,700 premature deaths in people with heart or lung disease,
• 87,000 fewer days of missed work or school, and
• 12,000 fewer cases of exacerbated asthma.
Additionally, using Bioheat® helps reduce emissions of sulfur oxides and sulfates (major components of acid rain), which are a main cause in global warming.
What’s in Bioheat®?
Bioheat® is composed of at least 2% biodiesel (B2), which promotes better air quality because it produces lower emissions than petroleum diesel. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that greenhouse gas emissions for 100% biodiesel (B100) could be more than 52% lower than those from petroleum diesel.
Biodiesel is made from renewable resources, like soybeans, and biodegrades as quickly as sugar. Newly published research from the University of Idaho and U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that for every unit of fossil energy needed to produce biodiesel, the return is 5.54 units of renewable energy. This energy-in, energy-out ratio is called “energy balance” or “fossil energy ratio.” Unlike most fuels, biodiesel actually has a positive energy balance of 5.54 to 1.
To date biofuel is the only alternative fuel to have successfully completed the rigorous Health Effects Testing Requirements of the federal Clean Air Act Amendments.
The Clean Air Act.
In 1948, a thick cloud of air pollution loomed above the industrial town of Donora, Pennsylvania for five days, killing 20 people and causing illness in nearly half of the towns’ people. In 1952, over 3,000 people died in what became known as London’s “Killer Fog,” a smog so thick that buses could not run without guides walking ahead of them carrying lanterns.
Events like these alerted us to the dangers that air pollution poses to public health. In 1970, Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and passed the Clean Air Act, giving the federal government authority to clean up air pollution in this country. It has helped change the way many of us work or do business, and even the way we live.
The EPA credits The Clean Air Act with reducing harmful air toxins by nearly 70 percent. Further, the EPA projects that the acts’ amendments will prevent over 230,000 early deaths in 2020.
Why 2% Biodiesel Matters.
On average, each of us breathes over 3,000 gallons of air each day—that’s a lot of demand for clean air. You could go days without food and hours without water, but you would last only a few minutes without air. You must have air to live and breathing polluted air can make you sick and even kill you. Air pollution can damage trees, crops, other plants, lakes, and animals. In addition to damaging the natural environment, air pollution also damages buildings, monuments, and statues.
If all oilheat was a 2% blend, as Bioheat® is, we would conserve burning 140 million gallons of oil annually as a country. Individually that translates into a typical oilheat household, using 800 gallons/year, could conserve 16 gallons of oil annually and the emissions that go with it.
2% biodiesel content is the beginning of the movement to increase that percentage to 5, 10 and even up to 20% to have even more impact in the future.
How Do We Know When the Air is Better?
A “public-friendly” way to assess the cleanliness of our air is by the “Air Quality Index” (AQI). The AQI tracks pollution for your area and is frequently reported by your local weather forecasters. The color codes, which range from green to red, correspond to specific pollution levels. The goal is to see a reduction in the number of Code Orange and Code Red air quality days.
Biodiesel production for diesel vehicles and home heating continues to be astonishingly energy-efficient. Americans can feel more confident than ever in biodiesel’s long-term sustainability to meet today’s energy needs and those of future generations.