Biofuel, What’s it all About?

Burning biofuel rather than fossil fuel is clearly better for the environment, but how much better? According to the EPA, biofuel produced from waste cooking oil – the biofuel we sell at Simply Green – results in an 86% reduction in greenhouse gases, when compared to traditional fuel oil.

Of course, the vast majority of homes and vehicles currently running on bio are not burning 100% biofuel but rather a mix of bio and fossil fuel oil. The typical range of the mix for both heating fuel and diesel, is between 5% and 20% bio – hence the terms B5 and B20. Traditional oil-fired heating systems (and diesel-powered vehicles) can burn B5 or B20 without modifications, but because many boiler and furnace manufacturers will only honor warranties if a blend no higher than B5 is used, that’s the standard product we sell. Nevertheless, there are some customers who request a higher mix, mostly B20, and we’re happy to supply that – just be sure to check your warranties first. One customer, Oakhurst Dairy, uses Simply Green B50 in its trucks all summer long!

So, what is Simply Green’s B5/B20 and how do we get the mix right? We start with pure biofuel (B100) produced from locally sourced waste cooking oil. It comes from two principal suppliers: The first, White Mountain Biodiesel of North Haverhill, NH, was founded when its owner couldn’t find a reliable source of biodiesel for his other business, the Cog Railway on Mt. Washington. Our other supplier is Maine Standard Biofuels of Portland, ME.

We store our B100 in BioHoldings’ facility behind Joe’s Meat Shoppe in North Hampton, NH, and it’s only mixed with Number 2 oil when it’s on our own trucks. The mix, 5/95 or 20/80 or 50/50, is regulated by a computerized metering system on the bulk storage facility and, because the delivery truck is multi-pocketed, we can have B5 and B20 on the same truck – the two will never meet.

But how environmentally friendly is it? According to the National Biodiesel Board, if you burn 1,000 gallons of B5 rather than 100% Number 2 oil, you will reduce your CO2 emissions by 3.92% or 806 lbs. If you burn 1,000 gallons of B20, the reductions are 15.69% or 3,224 lbs. Plus, Bioheat contains 11% oxygen by weight so it burns cleanly and it contains less sulfur than fossil fuel, which reduces the production of particulates and greenhouse gases. All those factors are good for the environment, and they’re also good for your heating system – cleaner fuel means a longer life.

Biofuel doesn’t just sound good; with the right mix and the right base products, it really is good.

Want to know how your biofuel consumption is helping the environment? Go to the National Biodiesel Board’s Bioheat calculator and find out.

Click here to email us or call us at (603) 430-9919 to see how we can help you.