In the perpetual search for the next great renewable heating fuel, there remains only one that has a sufficient supply and distribution network in place, can be used in (and is, in fact, better for) existing heating oil equipment, can beat natural gas on environmental benefits, and has the marketing support of both The National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) and the state oil heat associations.
Yet, if you asked the average homeowner about their thoughts on Bioheat® fuel, you’d probably get little more than a blank stare in return. If the heating oil industry is going to survive in the 21st century, that scenario needs to change.
Lack of consumer knowledge is one of the biggest obstacles facing heating oil dealers today. The common belief that every dealer is essentially selling the same product means that many heating oil consumers are making decisions based exclusively on price. In response, the industry has largely conformed to that narrative, regarding fuel as a mere commodity—and marketing it as such.
While there’s no denying that marketing low price to a price-driven consumer base is an effective way to attract new customers, it’s no way to retain them. A dealer who wins a customer on dollar-per-gallon today is the dealer who will lose a customer on dollar-per-gallon tomorrow.
Brand loyalty is built upon differentiation and oil heat dealers have never had a more marketable product with which to differentiate themselves than Bioheat®. With the transition to Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil (ULSHO), and with B6-B20 ® blends included in ASTM D396 heating oil standards, oil heat dealers can now offer the safest and least carbon-intensive renewable fuel on the market—at a time when consumer demand for such a product is at an all-time high. At a cost competitive rate, heating oil customers can have a far cleaner, more efficient and higher performing product that will benefit the environment, their health, and their wallet.
Just a few years ago, an oil heat consumer research study by Warm Thoughts Communications found that nearly 50% of younger-aged homeowners interested in converting from oil heat to natural gas said that they would be less likely to do so if Bioheat® was available to them.
Educating the consumer
Bioheat® can only serve as an effective differentiator if consumers are educated on the topic. Raising consumer awareness via website, social media, marketing brochures, traditional advertising, customer newsletters and through personal interaction are all good ways to market fuel quality. However, the most effective marketing strategy is to provide evidence that the fuel actually works. Showing customers their fuel filters, tracking efficiency measures and recording drops in maintenance issues goes a long way towards debunking the tired “oil is oil” narrative, strengthening your value proposition and building loyalty not only to your brand, but to our industry. ICM
For more information on fuel quality, maintenance, additives, or treatment solutions, contact Paul Nazzaro at 978-258-8360 x301 or

In his book, Built to Last, management expert Jim Collins examines how it is that some companies manage to achieve and sustain excellence across decades, and even centuries, through multiple generations of leaders. By studying companies that have prospered over the long term, Collins and his team were able to identify timeless fundamentals that enable organizations to endure and thrive through constantly changing times. One fundamental that I find particularly resonant is the concept of “dynamic duality.” Collins explains:
“On the one hand, enduring organizations have a set of timeless core values and purpose that remain constant over time. On the other hand, they have a relentless drive for progress—change, improvement, innovation, and renewal. Great organizations keep clear the difference between their core values (which never change), and operating strategies and cultural practices (which endlessly adapt to a changing world).”
Most fuel dealers have the first part down pat. Their core values—service, dependability, honesty—have informed their businesses from the start. It’s the second part of the equation—the willingness and ability to adapt—that separates fuel dealers who will endure from those who will flicker out.
Make no mistake about it: For those who sell or consume fuel, there have never been more variables around which to adapt. Growing competition from natural gas and renewables aside, with the policy directives currently being placed on refiners and OEMs, today’s ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuels are proving increasingly problematic for heating oil customers and diesel fleets alike.
While Ultra Low-Sulfur Diesel is certainly a cleaner burning fuel—especially when blended with biodiesel—it is not a fix-all for every common fuel problem, nor does it come without its own set of operability concerns.
Because sulfur acts as a natural lubricant, ULSD is “dryer” than traditional diesel, meaning that its lower in lubricity, more prone to holding entrained water, and more susceptible to water and microbial contamination—the precursors to corrosion.
The refining process used to remove sulfur also removes oxygen, nitrogen and other functional elements, yielding a fuel that is more paraffinic, or waxy, to the detriment of its cold flow operability, and less stable in storage. ULSD is also more solvent, or liable to loosen filter-plugging deposits in tanks. Lastly, just because ULSD is “cleaner” than traditional diesel, it is not any less corrosive to tanks, pipes and system components if left untreated.
For diesel fleets, ULSD has plagued High Pressure Fuel Injection systems with a number of issues, including injector failures, filter plugging, loss of power and reduced fuel economy. More recently, fuel injection systems with exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) and diesel particulate filters (DPF) are increasingly more problematic.
The point is, businesses that tout premium service but continue to sell generic fuels that meet minimum ASTM specifications are simply not built to last in today’s rapidly evolving market. In fact, they’ll be the first to fall. Now more than ever, quality of fuel is every bit as important as quality of service.
A fuel maintenance program that combines today’s advanced additive technology with sound storage, transportation and general housekeeping practices can prevent unnecessary fuel problems and optimize performance to create a premium product tailored to meet the needs of customers. Cold flow additives prevent fuel gelling to keep diesel engines and heating systems running smoothly through the winter. Detergents keep tanks and injector systems clean. Combustion catalysts increase fuel efficiency and decrease emissions. Corrosion inhibitors protect tank linings. Biocides control microbial contamination. Water control treatments prevent fuel degradation and other water-related issues. Biodiesel (though not an additive) is a cleaner burning, renewable fuel that can be blended with traditional diesel at rates that beat natural gas on environmental benefits. This is the kind of information that fuel dealers should be sharing with their customers. For a few cents more per gallon, they can have a cleaner, higher performing product that will quickly pay for itself in the form of restored efficiency, reduced maintenance  and less down time.
Offering a premium product can only serve as a differentiator if consumers are educated on the subject. Raising consumer awareness via website, social media, marketing brochures, traditional advertising, customer newsletters and through personal interaction are all good ways to market fuel quality. However, the most effective marketing strategy is to provide evidence that the enhanced fuel actually works. Showing customers their fuel filters, tracking efficiency measures, and recording drops in maintenance issues goes a long way towards debunking the tired “oil is oil” narrative, strengthening your value proposition, and building a business that won’t just last, but thrive.
For more information on fuel quality, maintenance, additives, or treatment solutions, contact Paul Nazzaro at 978-258-8360 x301 or

For a decade, Bioheat has been navigating a roadmap originally designed by oil heat leaders to gain acceptance as a solution toward the mitigation of declining consumer interest in oil heat.
Wait, did I say roadmap? What roadmap? There is none. At times, it appears that industry professionals work off several versions of a roadmap, but for whatever the reason, default back to business as usual. The industry’s sustainability clock continues to tick and still struggles with consumer anxiety that, based on pricing alone, oil heat is simply not relevant any longer. No need to get into the other issues. Consumers frown on oil heat because price matters, as we all know.
So where does this leave Bioheat and its future as a cleaner burning blend stock for oil heat if we don’t take the steps required to share the benefits with our customers ? Consumers, like thoroughbred race horses, are in the starting gate— anxious to fast track toward natural gas and other home heating strategies that offer them relief. The answer is the same fix as oil heat itself.
With that, I turn my attention to the service technician. The professional service technician has more face time with the customer than anyone in the supply chain. For that reason alone, they are possibly the last link in the entire supply chain to reach out to a customer and let them know that a reformulated oil heat certainly deserves a second chance. The industry mantra used to be, “Oil Heats Best”—not so today in many consumer’s judgment. The goal of Bioheat has always been, “Making Oil heat Better.” A reminder on how that goal gets accomplished is sharing the many attributes that can back the phrase and sustain the industry’s ticking clock.
As a refresher, Bioheat fuel is the name given to any blend of conventional, petroleum-based home heating oil and pure biodiesel, an alternative fuel produced through the chemical transformation of vegetable oils and animal fats. In other words, it is the space-heating equivalent of transportation biofuels, which are blends of biodiesel and conventional petroleum-based diesel fuels. Biodiesel blends are identified by their volume relative to the conventional fuel. Thus, B100 is the term used for pure biodiesel, while B5 Bioheat fuel describes a blend of five percent biodiesel and 95 percent conventional heating oil. Bioheat fuel offers several advantages over traditional fuel oil:

• Contributes to energy security and economic development. As domestically produced Bioheat fuel further penetrates the market for heating fuels (in parallel with the growth of biodiesel as transportation fuels), it will add security to the nation’s energy supply and provide new outlets for the nation’s agricultural products

• Reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If the agricultural feedstock is grown and harvested sustainably, thereby maximizing the feedstock’s carbon storage potential, combustion of Bioheat fuel can result in little to no net emissions of carbon dioxide. The fact that biodiesel is America’s only Advanced Biofuel confirms that it does in fact reduce GHG emissions under the rules issued in the EPA program known as the Renewable Fuels Standard.

• Delivers other environmental benefits. Compared to conventional heating oils, Bioheat fuel is cleaner burning. Laboratory studies and field trials conducted over the past decade in heating applications have documented reduced nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur oxide, carbon dioxide, and particulate emissions, as well as lower smoke and odor production. In doubt? Don’t be—all which has been touted about Bioheat has been documented by countless reputable organizations, one being Brookhaven National Laboratory, which has worked to help the oil heat industry become more technologically advanced. If that weren’t enough, they have been spearheading fuel quality investigations since the late 1980s and for good cause.

• Stability and cold weather performance. If properly blended, biodiesel will go into solution with heating oil and will not separate. Cold weather conditions can affect the performance of biodiesel. Higher percentage blends (i.e., above B20) have a tendency to crystallize, and then gel, as the ambient temperature goes down, affecting their ability to flow properly. These cold flow issues are less significant at or below a B20 blend (they may appear at temperatures 2-5 degrees warmer than they would with conventional heating oil). Since Bioheat fuel is generally offered at no more than B20, but most often, at a conforming blend, (B2–B5), standard precautions associated with conventional heating oil, such as blending with kerosene, or the use of cold weather additives, can help maintain proper flow characteristics.

• Clogging of burner components. Higher blends of biodiesel can act as a cleaning agent in the fuel tank and thus can help dissolve or loosen accumulated sediments, which might then become deposited in components such as filters, strainers, and nozzles. Higher blends will have a greater cleaning effect similar to a premium fuel additive, which is designed to mobilize tank sludge and sedimentation. Countless field tests have demonstrated that blends up to B20 have the potential to minimize clogging once the older, accumulated deposits have been removed, since the Bioheat fuel burns more cleanly and leaves fewer residues.

• Compatibility with tanks and components. The National Biodiesel Board is a great source for verifying compatibility concerns. The empirical data retained at NBB reveals that all known tanks and systems, including gaskets, seals, hoses, and O-rings, are compatible (i.e., will not be adversely affected by) with Bioheat fuel blends of up to 20 percent biodiesel (B20). However, given the lack of long-term experience with the fuel, the Bioheat Technical Steering Committee (BTSC) is committed to ensuring that Bioheat is safe for use in blends up to 20%. At this time, the BTSC is working on demonstrating “no harm” which the industry will ultimately attest to be “legacy safe.”

So why rely on the service technician when it relates to confirming the benefits associated with Bioheat? Simple, they don’t just talk about it—they live it. They work on the equipment; they handle the parts and know that their customers at the moment may not really be content with the current offering. For those fuel dealers that have made the move to market and sell Bioheat, it’s an exciting and challenging time to be an oil heat dealer. They have chosen to take advantage of Bioheat and help lead their company and their industry into the next generation. Bioheat is a simple choice and a smart solution that results in a better fuel for your customers and ultimately, an improvement in the dealer’s bottom line—ask a technician!

Past & Present

It has been a long, action-packed decade for Bioheat® market development.  Much has been written about what has been referenced as the Oilheat industry’s renaissance. Thousands of road miles, countless professional management hours and millions of dollars have been invested both in validating Bioheat technical performance characteristics as well raising oil heating consumers’ awareness of this terrific home heating oil.

Paul Nazzaro is Principal of the Nazzaro Group and frequently represents the National Biodiesel Board. Jacqueline Devine crafted the proposed legislation when she was 13.

Having just achieved its largest production year yet with over 1.1 billion gallons of biodiesel produced in 2012, the U.S. biodiesel industry celebrated 20 years of momentum and growth during the 2013 National Biodiesel Conference and Expo held early February in Las Vegas.  The upcoming year will be packed with more communication, education and outreach for fuel oil dealers eager to step outside their comfort zone as they move closer to 21st century business strategies, the core centered on Bioheat marketing.

The Future

I have had the privilege of meeting thousands of individuals during the years I have spent sharing the biodiesel and Bioheat message. One person who has made an impact with me is Jacqueline Devine. She resides in Westport Connecticut with her parents, Michael and Catherine,  and her brother Cole. I need not say more about Jacqueline other than sharing with you her story on how she set out to make a difference. Making a difference starts with establishing goals, objectives and dreams and not yielding until you make your mark. There can be no debate; Jacqueline made her mark and, more importantly, she and her friends are your future customers. Listen to what they have to say.
 “My Change” 
Each era is defined by something different. Whether it’s an economic, political, or social shift, each generation of individuals brings something new to America that helps to shape it into the country it is today. 
During my past few years in High School, I have been continuously told that my generation is defined as the ‘Green Generation.’  We, as a body of people, represent a change from conventional to revolutionary by means of technology and more importantly, energy. 
Just a few generations ago, people relied heavily on fossil fuels to power their homes, factories, and vehicles. No one knew the dangers or limitations of the fuel and no one could project that in a matter of decades, there would be a shortage and an environmental crisis across the globe. 
We, as the new generation, have come to realize that this conventional fuel isn’t the magical source of energy it used to be. We have come to realize that there needs to be a change. This change will inevitably be alternative energy. America will, at some point in the near future, need to develop alternatives to petroleum that can fulfill the demands and the power of oil. 
There have been many proposed methods of energy use. Some of which include solar, wind, hydrogen cells, nuclear fission and fusion, and Biofuels. Like fossil fuels, each energy source has its upside and downside. Implementing solar, wind, and chemical reaction energies can take an exponentially larger amount of money than using oil. They can require infrastructure far beyond the means of many American households. 
The biggest upside to Biofuel is that it can be used in place of heating oil. In other words, there is no need to change a home’s heating system. So long as a home, building or vehicle has a diesel engine, it can be powered by Biofuels. 
However, the concept of alternatives can still frighten the average American citizen. To some politicians, Americans, and even kids my age, Biofuels are just something that may, or may not, replace petroleum in the future. Some see it as an inconvenience or unnecessary. Some see it as too controversial or even ‘weird.’ But I have come to realize that if you look at the big picture, biodiesel is the solution to the oil, economic, and job crisis in America. 
I too fell into the category of naysayers until I was in middle school. When I was eleven, I saw ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ a movie based around the concept of global warming and the effect it was going to have on the world. I can remember leaving the theatre being stunned and driven to make a change.  At 14, I was determined to take a stand with the resources available to me. 
When I was a freshman in High School, I joined a club called JSA (Junior Statesmen of America). I had always been vocal regarding domestic and international conflicts and JSA would give me the opportunity to debate and become a leader. However, throughout my first two years in JSA, there was no defining moment where I felt like I had made a difference. It wasn’t until my junior year when that changed. 
Each winter, my school’s JSA chapter would go to Washington, D.C. to debate a docket of bills that had been hand selected by our club’s student officials. I had submitted bills freshman and sophomore year, but only my junior year bill was accepted. I was elated and eager to debate something that I felt was such a hot topic. 
To me, it was more than just a bill. It was my opportunity to make a difference. The bills that passed through the convention would be sent to the U.S. House of Representatives for deliberation. If I could get my bill passed, it would be in the hands of the most influential people in the country. 
With the help of two other peers, I passed the bill during my convention and it was sent to Capitol Hill. I can’t explain the happiness I felt when I heard the Senate chair state, “This bill passes.”* It was almost as if I felt I had fulfilled my American duty with my efforts to make a change. I accomplished something that I had always wanted and can now say that I have begun my journey to making my change.
And even now, as I look back one year later, I feel as though a fire has been lit within me to continue to make this change. I want to continue to be the leader that I was in Washington D.C.  I want to help promote the benefits of Biodiesel and Biofuels. But most importantly, I want to be able to influence the people around me to make decisions that will ultimately help America in its prosperous future. 

Lesson learned; never underestimate the passion and drive of our young adults. Jacqueline was determined to take a stand with the resources available to her. Fuel oil dealers like yourself have countless resources available to you that will help jump start your transition to Bioheat. It’s a simple fork in the road which you face: continue to sell carbon or sell the new improved home heating oil, Bioheat.
 “If not Bioheat, then what”? 978-258-8360. 
Paul Nazzaro, The Nazzaro Group,

FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF JACQUELINE’S BILL. It was passed by a mock Congress and was then sent on to an actual congressperson. Jacqueline was 13 years old when she presented this bill:

The contents of the bill Jacqueline introduced are listed below:
Factories in America are one of the leading causes of global warming. They produce 40% of the pollution in the United States. Each year, over 20,000 factories in the U.S. produce four billion pounds of toxic chemicals that are admitted into the atmosphere. […] Factory emissions contribute to these gases in the atmosphere and further the harmful effects of pollution. Alternative fuels, such as Biodiesel, can be created out of soybeans, corn, algae, and other renewable resources. Biodiesel burns cleaner than regular conventional heating oil, and is better for the environment. If factories switch their oil system from a fossil fuel to Biofuel, then the rate of gases emitted will not only decrease, but also the Biodiesel will better the environment due to the fact that the oil is renewable.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that:
Section 1: Large factories across the U.S. shall switch from the use of conventional oil to Biodiesel. Large factories shall be classified as a building producing extensive amounts of products that are purchased by many Americans.
Section 2: The money needed to support the transfer to Biodiesel shall be funded by the recent tax incentives passed in regards to alternative energy.

NYC Gets Greener with Bioheat® Fuel to Advance Sustainability

Bioheat says “Thanks” by awarding $30,000 to Charities that also “warm” NYC
In December 2012, New York City launched its mandate for traditional home heating oil to be blended with 2 percent biodiesel, also known as Bioheat Fuel. Already the nation’s largest municipal user of biodiesel, NYC takes the lead in sustainable heating, reducing the city’s carbon footprint and replacing up to 20 million gallons of petroleum annually. The Bioheat bill advances one of the major goals of the city’s sustainability agenda, PlaNYC, committed to having the best air quality of any major city in the nation by the year 2030.
As a thank you to the city, Bioheat recently launched their NYC Proud 2B2 Renewable Warmup campaign. This campaign will award three out of eight nominated charities a grant in the amounts of $15,000, $10,000 or $5,000. Between January 28th and February 17th, 2013, NYC residents are asked to go to to vote for the charity they feel best helps “warm” NYC ..
“Our objective with the NYC Bioheat Proud 2B2 Renewable Warmup campaign is twofold. We wanted to give back to the NYC community in more need than ever after the impact of Hurricane Sandy. We also wanted to do it in a way that would increase the awareness of Bioheat Fuel’s benefits and the impact it can have on the environment to other regions,” said Paul Nazzaro, President of Advanced Fuel Solutions and advocate for the National Biodiesel Board’s Bioheat education program.
New York City’s mandate replaces 20 million gallons of petroleum annually with a local, renewable resource that’s also cleaner burning. It’s the carbon equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road in New York City. According to a National Biodiesel Board study, it has the economic impact of creating 780+ biodiesel production jobs in the region and $42 million in household income.
Nazzaro adds, “It is important that the progress continues. 80% of oil heat households in the United States are located in the Northeast region and purchase about 5.1 billion gallons of heating oil in a year. If the entire Northeast region switched to Bioheat Fuel, we would replace 100+ million gallons of oil with a local, greener resource each year.”
“The New York Oil Heat Association (NYOHA) has long fought for a new standard in heating oil,” said the association’s CEO John Maniscalco. “The heating oil of the past will soon be gone. Instead, Bioheat Fuel will become the standard in home heating sustainability. NYC should be proud to lead the effort and proud ‘2B’ staying warm.”
Bioheat Online is a resource for consumers and oil heat dealers brought to you by the National Biodiesel Board and Advanced Fuel Solutions (AFS), a leading additive supplier and market consultant in the fuel industry for 13+ years. Consumers can go to the following Web site for the contact information to write their Senator to support a biodiesel tax incentive for 2013:

ICPA becomes CEMA

As of January 1, 2013, the Independent Connecticut Petroleum Association has become CEMA, the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association. More information is available at the association’s new website,
That’s not a typo above. The association added the “t” in the website extension because “cema” was not available. In addition, four e-mail addresses have changed:
Gene Guilford is
Chris Herb is
David Chu is
Phyllis Stickler is
The association’s ICPA  Education Foundation Technical Education Center, known as ITEC, remains the same for the time being until its name is changed, and its website remains www.icpatec.comJoe Buchas is

The final question of a recent Bioheat® fuel dealer survey funded by the National Biodiesel Board asked heating oil fuel dealers, “Everything being equal, would you prefer Bioheat fuel as your home heating oil product, or are you satisfied with generic home heating oil high or ultra-low-sulfur? “

  The response most checked off was, “Today’s heating oil is fine with me.” Yes, 50 percent of fuel dealers taking time to participate responded they are comfortable delivering plain old heating oil. The remaining half responded, “I would like to transition to Bioheat fuel,” followed by, “I would sell both regular oil and Bioheat fuel.”

Recently, I attended the National Association of Convenience Stores conference and was intrigued by their keynote speaker, Peter Sheahan. Sheahan is globally recognized as a leading expert in workforce trends and generational change. He stated, “Customers feel a product is cheap at the price, not when they pay the lowest possible price, but when they feel they received great value and a good deal on all measures, including price.”

My take away, how could an Oilheat customer feel good about the price of oil when very little is being done to convey what the value of this product really is? Many dealers believe that ultra-low sulfur heating oil is the logical and only next step for the industry. Truth be told, regardless of the sulfur level in the heating oil you deliver, it remains a carbon based fuel. The lower sulfur story is a better one, but not better than the story waiting to be told when you combine ultra-low sulfur heating oil blended with biodiesel, a/k/a Bioheat® fuel. The truth of the matter: you will never be clean enough or cheap enough unless you start creating a story around the product which you sell. Stop discounting your offering by referencing it as a commodity. The commodity ends when your delivery truck leaves the rack and heads to your customer’s home.

The message to be taken from Sheahan is clear; you need to tell your customers what Bioheat is and what value they will take away as your customer. Many dealers taking this survey said that conventional heating oil is not competitive against other fuels, such as gas, propane or wood pellets (78%), which was no surprise. Responders then went on to say they thought Bioheat fuel was about the same as other fuels, such as gas, propane and wood pellets (72%). Well, if these responses reveal anything, they suggest dealers would have a better chance of succeeding if they presented the Bioheat proposition to their customers simply because of the marketing advantages associated with the renewable component, not the carbon component.

Other highlights of the survey which caught my attention were that 71% of those polled responded they never used the sales and marketing tools made available through the National Biodiesel Board. When asked if they had ever visited, 73% responded, “No”; however, of the 27% that did visit the site, 97% found the website informative and valuable. The survey also revealed only 23% had applied to become a registered Bioheat fuel dealer, and 84% said their customers never requested the fuel. On the subject of Bioheat and its technical performance, 49% of those polled felt the fuel had noted challenges; they referenced blending issues, gelling, phase separation and general quality concerns. As a long time booster of Bioheat, these observations are frustrating and necessitate reflection to determine the best and most direct way to alleviate those individuals’ fears. More important, will the industry ever join together to declare that they are interested in transitioning to ULSHO with biodiesel?

During the past decade, millions of dollars have been invested by the National Biodiesel Board to help restore oil heat to its former level of prominence within the home heating marketplace. Extensive training for dealers, leaders and their customers have been administered and we still have 50 percent of dealers content with the state of the industry and not eager to advance their companies’ business towards Bioheat. Worse, only a handfull of state Oilheat leaders have stepped in to lead this transition to a cleaner burning fuel.

On a positive note, 72% of those participating did state that Bioheat was available at a terminal from which they lifted their heating oil, so they couldn’t say Bioheat was not available. Close to 50% did think Bioheat was the logical next step to advance the industry. Further, half preferred Bioheat and would sell it—but when? Action creates clarity and at some point, you have to stop thinking, stop planning and just do something, anything to get traction in your business. You can be one of the 50% who said, “Today’s heating oil is fine,” but you know it’s not. You know that fuel quality is compromised; its price to value is not marketable and you are quickly losing your customers’ confidence.

With this, many continue to buy and sell generic heating oil, accepting this as the norm and interestingly, expecting a different outcome. Without taking action, the water cooler chatter which one hears every day will remain the same: “I hope we have a cold winter”, “I hope crude settles lower and I really hope that gas conversions slow down.” These are notable concerns which make for a great wish list, but do absolutely nothing to put you and your organization on the proactive track to success. Your decision to take part in this evolution needs to start today. That’s because the resources the industry has had access to for the past several years to promote Bioheat are now beginning to become limited.
If we are to continue our effort to transition the industry, it will take a collective effort from fuel dealers, equipment manufacturers and industry leaders, all of whom have skin in the game. If this were five years ago, the use of diplomacy to encourage you to begin your transition would be relied upon—unfortunately, it’s not—and time is of the essence.

“If not Bioheat, then what?” If you are interested in becoming part of the 50% wanting to embrace change and would like to access sales and marketing training as well technical support, please feel free to reach out for immediate assistance. In the upcoming weeks, you will be witness to an aggressive consumer television marketing campaign designed to educate your customers about Bioheat. Will you be ready to answer their questions when your phone rings? There are only a few responses to this question: “Yes”, “No” or, “I like things just the way they are.”

For more information, contact Paul Nazzaro,
978-258-8360 x 301 or write and please visit

This time, the start of October and the oilheat season brings a landmark change. In New York City, the biggest city in the nation, a new Bioheat® fuel requirement takes root. For oilheat dealers, this presents a major opportunity for building long-term customer satisfaction—and retention. This is clearly an evolution much needed.
The people who work and live in New York City can now take comfort in knowing the oilheat that heats their businesses and homes is the cleanest in the nation, and quite possibly the world. Starting October 1, every gallon of oilheat in the city must contain at least two percent biodiesel. The blend is known as Bioheat® fuel.
The law comes as the result of 2010 legislation, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed an air quality bill that included the Bioheat provision for heating homes and buildings. A recently enacted New York State bill also required a switch to Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil, which took place in July. City Councilman James F. Gennaro sponsored the Bioheat legislation, with the effort supported by John Maniscalco, CEO of the New York Oil Heating Association, as well as the National Biodiesel Board.
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from agricultural byproducts and co-products such as soybean oil, and other fats and oils, including at least one abundant resource in New York City: recycled restaurant grease. It is the only domestically produced, commercially available advanced biofuel in the U.S., and supports 39,000 American jobs.
The mandate will replace 20 million gallons of petroleum annually with renewable, sustainable, domestically produced biodiesel. Not only does that replace foreign oil, it supports green collar jobs and green economic growth in the New York City area as a result. Those benefits are real and tangible, and are something oilheat dealers and customers alike can feel good about.
The City Council passed the bill unanimously—a vote of 45-0. That kind of universal support is rare, and underscores that the city is moving in the right direction, according to NYOHA’s Maniscalco. A long-time Bioheat fuel visionary himself, he championed the unprecedented municipal legislation, recognizing the powerful opportunity that Bioheat has in keeping the oilheat industry viable.

“Metro is proud to have been a part of a local biodiesel movement whose aim is to create a cleaner, more renewable and more energy independent future right here in New York City. We don’t plan to stop at a B2 mandate and call it a day. We are excited about getting more and more customers on B5, B10 and B20 where the benefits become even greater for us and future generations.” —Gene Pullo, President of Metro Terminals, the Brooklyn-based energy company that is in the finals stages of building the largest biodiesel processing facility in the United States.

“The city has embraced this progressive change, and we’ve encountered minimal resistance to Bioheat from dealers, legislators and consumers alike,” Maniscalco said. “Unlike sulfur reduction, where there was a failed attempt at a hostile amendment to keep the sulfur in the oil at its then-present high concentrations, there has been no resistance at the city level. We’ve been communicating the positive attributes of Bioheat for several years, and there’s been a constant buzz about it. It’s a proven positive change for governments, oil dealers, and oilheat consumers alike.”
A great deal of effort has been expended to create the Bioheat consumer message, which you have seen on buses, trains and truck wraps. Plans are currently underway by the National Biodiesel Board to make one final push to help raise consumer awareness about Bioheat through a similar radio and outdoor media program for 2012-2013, before turning the campaign back to oilheat, or rather, Bioheat, leaders.
Without fuel dealer participation, the best laid plans to convey the Bioheat message will be lost unless there is someone by the phone to respond to those consumers anxious to ask questions about their new heating oil. To date, fuel dealers have been cautious about demonstrating their support for this new fuel, but with the mandate now fully implemented, it’s time for them to step up, learn and discuss the changes with their customers.

“Sprague has been supplying biodiesel and Bioheat fuel to our wholesalers for years, as we long ago recognized the superior operability benefits of biodiesel within heating systems. Customers appreciate the reduced maintenance and extended equipment life resulting from the cleaner burning fuel. We hope New York City’s efforts will encourage other cities and municipalities to consider the benefits of Bioheat for the environment as well as for its enhanced performance.” —Steven J. Levy, Managing Director of Sprague Operating Resources LLC and National Biodiesel Board (NBB) Governing Board Member

On the terminal side, a great deal of activity continues to unfold because of the demands associated with the Renewable Fuel Standard. Terminals I’ve spoken with were already up and running last summer. Some arranged to take delivery of B100 and blend it with conventional heating oil, with others bringing it in pre-blended. Ultra Green Energy Services formally opened its biodiesel rail transload facility at the Brookhaven Rail Terminal in Yaphank, NY in July. The rail transload facility will supply biodiesel for Long Island, while backing up the New Hyde Park terminal. This grand opening was an exciting sign of growth in biodiesel infrastructure. In the past, one of the deterrents to biodiesel’s growth was its limited accessibility. But now, biodiesel is becoming fully integrated into our fuel supply—and it is legislation like the New York City mandate, and the federal Renewable Fuels standard, driving that integration.
New York City consumes one billion gallons of varying grades of heating oil annually, more than any other city in the United States. Bioheat’s benefits are likely to make oilheat consumers breathe and feel better about the product they use to heat their homes. They are playing an active role in supporting renewable energy, cleaner fuels and green jobs. Ultimately, that means they are less likely to convert to an alternate heating source. That’s something every Bioheat dealer can benefit from—not just those servicing New York City.
The momentum emanating from New York needs to cross over the borders to jump start the evolution, which like the battle at Lexington and Concord, inspired many patriots to take up arms against Britain on April 19, 1775. The Bioheat outreach team has, with the help of many oilheat insiders, worked exhaustively over the past decade to deliver a product into the hands of fuel dealers that they could take and use to reengineer their offering to the oilheat customer. Having been part of that development process makes it convenient for me to observe and comment on the current state of Bioheat’s commercialization.
From my perspective, I would suggest dealers need to have their own Boston Tea Party and begin to take action. For months, I have suggested that simply waiting for nature to take its course so you can drive a delivery truck under the rack to load Bioheat is no longer an option. I still have to pinch myself when I see dealers sitting idle waiting for an industry red light to turn green before they begin their independent transition to Bioheat.
I pinch even harder when I hear people talk negatively about Bioheat; both the product and marketing story could be the catalyst that returns this industry to prominence. Some believe Ultra Low Sulfur Heating Oil is the answer, and even though it’s still good ol’ carbon, some race to embrace selling natural gas, electricity and propane so as to take the pain and suffering away from selling plain ol’ vanilla oilheat.
Then there are the industry leaders—those that come in a variety of sizes, fuel dealers from 700 thousand gallons to ten million gallons a year—all beginning to stage their own war on market contraction and to begin the battle to protect and grow their market share. They come to conferences, they participate in webinars, they take advantage of free marketing literature and they talk through their concerns publicly so as to arrest any fears that Bioheat might, in fact, not be the bright spot which it is being touted as being.
The entire petroleum supply chain deserves credit for making the changes needed to embrace blending biodiesel with heating oil to deliver Bioheat. Now that the fuel is terminal-ready, so much more is to be done to make the Bioheat movement “for real.”  I guess the choices are:  Treat Bioheat fuel as an arbitrage tool and tell no one about it, only to watch market share continue to erode, or strip the term oilheat off our stationary, websites, truck and uniforms and start an evolution like no other. Congratulations to those that fought to make the progress in New York City a reality. Consider yourself a true patriot.

Bioheat truck wrap

“I’ve never seen a more beautiful truck,” said Ryan Roy, the director of operations for Massachusetts-based Cleghorn Oil. “This is the crown jewel, the showpiece of our fleet. I almost want to put it on a pedestal and keep it as a trophy. People see it and say, ‘Wow, I’ve never seen anything like that.’”
Cleghorn, which changed its oilheat line exclusively to Bioheat this year, won the wrap at the New England Bioheat Symposium in Boston in March. The application of the wrap was paid for thanks to funding from the Nebraska Soybean board and the United Soybean Board through the soybean checkoff, but the artwork is available to all registered Bioheat dealers.
The company planned on parading the wrapped truck to area residents—literally! It was scheduled to appear in the 4th of July parade in Fitchburg and another parade in August.
Roy says the company first learned about Bioheat from a meeting with the team of Paul Nazzaro, NBB’s petroleum industry liaison.
“We jumped on board because it seemed like the right thing to do,” Roy said. “Bioheat is better for the country, better for the burner, and cleaner. It’s working for us.”
Bioheat truck wrap
Through the Bioheat program, the company uses post cards, door hangers, and other literature to educate its customers on Bioheat. Roy says the support he’s received from Nazzaro’s team, through NBB, has been tremendous.
Oscar Charron Sr. founded Cleghorn Oil in 1923, using a hand-cranked pump to deliver oilheat in five-gallon buckets, Roy said. He’s a fifth generation family member helping to run the business today. “I think Oscar would like the direction we’re going in,” Roy said. “He’d be happy with how we’ve grown through the Depression and World War II, and how his company has evolved from a small garage to where we are now.”
Bioheat is a big stepping stone for this country and the future of the oilheat industry, he added. For more information on Bioheat, visit

Envisioning Innovation

Why are we here?

Many of us have converged at this year’s Visions conference with the intention of learning about diversification, buying and selling companies, the impact of ultra-low sulfur diesel on the supply chain, social media strategies, natural gas and tactics to mitigate market share erosion, as well other ideas that can help build a stronger more sustainable business. It’s been a decade since the term Bioheat® was first spoken between two individuals hoping to help revive the oilheat story and make it more appealing for the consumer. Understanding the positive impact biodiesel was having on the diesel marketplace personally made me confident that biodiesel should be a logical next step for home heating oil renewal. The rest is history.
In my travels throughout the oilheat markets, I have had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of fuel dealers about our industry, their businesses and most importantly, their vision of the future. Although I have been privileged to meet those that have established a stake in the emergence of Bioheat, I have unfortunately been overwhelmed with a majority of those that are too easily satisfied or content with prevailing market conditions to consider or embrace this logical transition. Even after sharing with these skeptics the residential heating oil consumption numbers, which at the moment are at an all-time low (3.9 billion gallons system wide), and before the reconciliation to reflect the impact of “the winter that never was,” they still remained unsure that a change in direction is necessary. These same individuals Envisioning Innovation: What’s it going to take to see our industry truly decide to evolve? The answer is YOU! appeared fatigued and not prepared to engage in further discussions associated with addressing the widespread industry cynicism that surrounds them. In a nutshell, they weren’t frustrated to the point that they would shout “Enough!”

What’s it going to take?

Envisioning Quote
Unless you have been operating your business in a different part of the solar system and not here in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic where the highest percentage of oilheat is consumed, you would have at one point or another been witness to the comprehensive array of materials and tools now available to help you reengineer your company to take a leadership position with Bioheat. When provided the facts, figures and marketing tools associated with promoting Bioheat, many agreed that the Bioheat and its accompanying storyline was a great concept, but then went on to exercise their personal option to stay with the status quo. Feedback received on why they were not going to advance their independent transition of their business from oilheat to Bioheat centered on a medley of issues, including price, lack of availability, potential operational issues, unclear OEM position statements relating to biodiesel use and an apparent lack of direction from suppliers and industry leaders.
One would suggest that many just don’t see the writing on the wall as it relates to the future of oil heating. Keeping in the spirit of this Visions conference, I would suggest that a large percentage of companies whom I polled suffered from an imagination deficit, or worse, an inability to visualize a definitive course of action that would position them “Sometimes we become indecisive because our mind is worrying over all the potential problems. Rather than looking at the problems, consider the opportunities. An indecisive mind will always pick up on drawbacks of decisions. Focus on the potential of the situation and this will help make you more decisive; when an opportunity comes along, go for it.” Tejvan Pettinger * This issue of Indoor Comfort Marketing will be distributed during the Visions Conference, sponsored by the New England Fuel Institute and the Petroleum Marketers Association of America. It is being held this month in Framingham, MA. 16 ICM/June 2012 in a growth trajectory, versus a preventative defense which includes waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Examples of trepidation that have enabled indecision over Bioheat are as follows:
• “I’m waiting for my supplier to tell me about it.”
• “I don’t know how much my supplier is blending.”
• “My customers aren’t asking for it.”
• “My customers can’t afford to pay more for their oil as it is.”
• “My service technicians tell me that it will hurt the oil’s flow characteristics.”*
• “It’s going to grow more bugs.”
• “I’ll move when everyone else moves.”
And the list goes on. What’s it going to take to see our industry truly decide to evolve? The answer is YOU! It’s going to be you, not state leadership, refiners, pipelines, suppliers, terminals or equipment manufacturers just you. When you decide to say “ENOUGH is ENOUGH,” that will be the first day change will begin. If you are truly interested in succeeding in this business and ensuring that there will be customers for you to sell your products to and to expand beyond your core offerings through diversification, your first step is to accept the fact that you are an independent fuel supplier. Family businesses make up this industry and can organize one dealer at a time to establish a stronger future for heating oil and must do so today. You know that change is needed when you open up an industry journal and see more advertisements offering buy/sell services than new innovative products that might otherwise help you prosper.

Invest in you

So what we know is the environment in which you operate remains predictably volatile and challenging to say the least. We know that our industry has downward pressure on it from aggressive attacks waged by the utilities, unpredictable weather patterns that Mother Nature controls and quality issues that can if left unanswered wreak havoc in even the strongest companies’ bottom lines. We also know that the industry has expressed interest in remaking itself. Bioheat is the front runner enabling this much needed change. Another term that can best describe Bioheat is innovation. Innovation remains the single best defense against all the challenges noted above, as well the margin-crushing competition you likely face on a daily basis. In the majority of companies I have visited and shared the Bioheat story with, the word “innovation” is only a catchword, kind of like suggesting you are functioning “outside the box.” Pretty hip, wouldn’t you say? But innovation is much more than a catchword. It’s necessary for survival.
I write about indecisiveness and the negative impact associated with it. I suggest that it’s not the same oilheat business in which we invested a lifetime supporting our families and I go on to encourage you to take independent action today. In the future, you will reflect on how, when the business climate was grim, you were able to establish and execute the changes required to live to tell about it. The National Biodiesel Board and its stakeholders’ generosity have enabled us to create a new product available to you today Bioheat.
The hard part was the innovation. Add your commitment and passion to the innovation now available, and together we can return oilheat to its rightful place as the product most desired by homeowners everywhere. Everything you need to succeed starts at For additional information, consider contacting Paul Nazzaro at or 978-258-8360. See you on the other side.

Article title down on the farm
Speaking to a room full of oilheat dealers at a New England Bioheat® Symposium in March, I asked for a show of hands. How many dealers had ever been on a soybean farm or seen a soybean plant? Out of 150 people, only a few hands went up.

Bioheat coaches

Bioheat Coaches: Michael Devine/Earth Energy Alliance, Greg Anderson/Nebraska Soybean Board (author of this article), and Paul Nazzaro/National Biodiesel Board. That’s Boston’s Fenway Park in the background.

Given the distance between our industries, you may wonder why a Nebraska soybean farmer like me would be willing to invest more than a million dollars of soybean checkoff money in helping Bioheat succeed in the Northeast.
As I told the dealers in the room during the March 22 event in Boston, the Nebraska Soybean Board is very proud to wave the Bioheat flag because we recognize the tremendous potential it holds for both our industries. We’re passionate about Bioheat because we have a proud history of backing innovative ideas that lead to success. In fact, soybean farmers established the biodiesel industry itself in the U.S. 20 years ago, the fuel that today is blended with transportation diesel, or with oilheat to create Bioheat.
Aside from these benefits to farmers, we have a higher purpose for supporting Bioheat. We want to grow the Bioheat business into a market that lessens our dependence on foreign oil, creates jobs here at home, and keeps the domestic energy supply safe and secure. We’re not going to replace diesel fuel completely in the U.S., but we can make a big difference.
After getting to know state and national oilheat trade association leaders, and meeting many oilheat dealers in person, we value our partnership with the oilheat industry even more.
It turns out oilheat dealers and farmers share many similarities. First and foremost, we are family businesses, and small businesses. I’m a fifth generation farmer. My farm has been in same family for 139 years. Also, we are a commodity. We’re sensitive to weather and sympathize with your struggles with unpredictable weather. Like you, farmers are also impacted greatly by market uncertainties. We are very connected to our customers and provide essential services that people depend on, and we take that charge very seriously, as do you.
Finally, we each have deep roots in America, and we want to carry our way of life forward. We’ve discovered that the relationship between soybean farmers and oilheat dealers is truly mutually beneficial. Our investment with you has paid dividends in this first year. I’ve seen it firsthand.
Bioheat is a tremendous market for biodiesel. Just five percent biodiesel in the oilheat market equates to 350,000 gallons of biodiesel a year. To put that into perspective, last year the biodiesel industry produced 1.1 billion gallons of biodiesel. And we know Bioheat’s biodiesel volume potential will grow as the blend level grows.
Greg Anderson

A big hit: Soybean farmer leader Greg Anderson shows off his new Boston Red Sox jersey, presented to him at the New England Bioheat Symposium, held at Fenway Park.

Of course, biodiesel growth is a good thing for soybean farmers. More biodiesel means more favorable prices for soybean oil, which is one of the renewable resources that biodiesel can be made from. This is one way biodiesel helps invest in American jobs, rather than sending our money overseas.
Soybean oil traditionally has dragged down the value of the bean, which is primarily grown for its meal. This is “We have millions of pounds of [soybean] oil that need to be applied to industrial uses. Biodiesel increases the value of the oil…. However, it lowers the cost of the meal, which means biodiesel production has a net positive effect on food prices.” Down on the Farm 32 ICM/May 2012 an important point for oilheat dealers to understand, in case your customers ask you about biodiesel’s impact on food prices. The reality is that soybeans are not just for tofu and soy milk smoothies. Soybean meal is fed to livestock, which then enters our food supply in the form of meat and dairy. There’s not as much demand for soybean oil, and we can only use so much of it for salad dressing. We have millions of pounds of oil that need to be applied to industrial uses. Biodiesel increases the value of the oil, which raises farm income to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars of additional income. However, it lowers the cost of the meal, which means biodiesel production has a net positive effect on food prices.
Oilheat dealers

Oilheat dealers listen to how Bioheat can make their businesses more profitable and sustainable.

Farmers have the means, the technologies, the efficiencies and the production capacity to provide food, fiber and fuel for our country. The American farm is constantly evolving and advancing. We have unbelievable technological advances in modern agriculture today that would blow your mind. A farmer can take care of hundreds of acres by himself that 50 years ago would have taken many hand laborers to tend. Every year, we’re able to produce more and more crops on less land, and with fewer inputs like fertilizer.
Your industry also gives biodiesel an important market avenue in cold weather. Sometimes in winter months, fleets will scale back a little bit, from B20 to B5. Not because biodiesel can’t be used in vehicles in cold temperatures, but because some people carry that misconception and would rather not take a chance, so they drop their blend level down.
Article excerptSoybean farmers recognize that the oilheat industry is under attack, and we’re willing to stand shoulder-toshoulder. I can pledge our support, not just from Nebraska but from soybean farmers nationwide. They see Bioheat as the next big frontier we need to support to see it come to commercial success.
Like you, we’re not just thinking of our own generation. We’re talking about future generations that follow us, and paying forward all of the benefits that Bioheat can bring to America. Keep up the good work and carry on! We’re behind you.