Because OTechnology buildings have such low energy consumption, it is economically viable to consider our carbon-neutral space and hot water heating package, powered by locally sourced biodiesel. When used as a heating fuel, biodiesel is sometimes referred to as ” biofuel” or “bioheat.” Made from new and used vegetable oils or animal fats, this fuel also has the advantage of being biodegradable, nontoxic, and renewable.

Environmental Benefits

Add sustainable biodiesel to the equation and you’ll cut home heating emissions by 20%. Biodiesel recycles carbon dioxide (CO2) by using plants to create the fuel and pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. However, energy must be expended to produce it, and methanol, a catalyst commonly used in biodiesel production, is generally derived from natural gas. Overall, biodiesel is a fairly renewable fuel. One of the main benefits is that using biodiesel helps reduce foreign oil dependency. Oil spills can pose a serious threat to human health and have a long-lasting impact on the environment. It may take years for an ecosystem to recover from damage caused by an oil spill. Even one pint of oil released into the water can spread and cover one acre of water surface area and can seriously damage an aquatic habitat. Recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigations are revealing large-scale compliance problems, such as pipeline breaks, leaking tanks, faulty valves, overturned trucks, leaking ships, and illegal dumping.

Health and / or Social Benefits

Our world is set up using petroleum systems, such as gasoline and diesel. The ability to quickly convert existing methods of energy consumption to alternative energy that don’t emit greenhouse gases is a challenge. An intermediate step is necessary for many systems that currently operate with the dependence of fossil fuel sources for our society. A good intermediate step selection that slowly converts us from fossil fuel sources is biodiesel. The ultimate goal is to contribute to building a stronger, more self-sufficient community by way of a community-based biodiesel production model. A community-based biodiesel distribution program benefits local economies, from the farmers growing the feedstock to local businesses producing and distributing the fuel, to the end consumer. The money stays in the community while reducing impact on the local environment and increasing energy security.

Economic Benefits

Oil furnaces have a life expectancy of 30 years, double that of gas furnaces. The prices of both natural gas and biofuel typically fluctuate from month to month and season to season. Given equal equipment efficiencies, the cost of creating a BTU of heat is less with natural gas than it is with heating oil, but gas bills come with additional service charges, fees, and taxes—and one supplier. Bioheat burns hotter than gas, so you’ll probably use less of it. There are no added charges, fees, and taxes, and you’re not stuck with one provider. If you’re diligent, you can buy biodiesel when the price is low (like in summer), giving you freedom and flexibility in cost efficiencies and in use.