US (MA): Vegetable oil heats homes and greenhouses

Homestead Inc. has received a $5,000 Clean Tech award from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Valley Venture Mentors program for inventing the Yellow Heat oil burner. “VVM and MassCEC have partnered to offer Yellow Heat this grant,” states Dorota Glosowitz, Vice President of Programs at Valley Venture Mentors, “as we recognize that using local waste resources to replace fossil fuels is both good for our local economy and the earth. We're excited to see Yellow Heat expand its business and wish it the best of luck.”

Yellow Heat operates efficiently on all oils, including the commodity yellow grease, a.k.a. waste vegetable oil, and can replace heating oil nearly gallon for gallon. The use of waste vegetable oil, which nearly all restaurants must dispose of regularly, instead of regular heating oil reduces the Carbon Intensity value of heating a building by 98%.

"The Yellow Heat Burner is essentially a replacement for space heaters that run on heating oil, so it is usable in any space where you can use a space heater", William Coville of Homestead tells us. "Space heaters are generally useful for greenhouses for keeping plants that require more heat during the winter. In addition, the fumes from the Yellow Heat Burner are non-toxic, containing no sulfates or other pollutants that could harm the gardener's plants."

The Yellow Heat burner operates in most oil-fired boilers and furnaces with capacities up to 150,000 BTU per hour, a size of the most common oil burner. Yellow Heat is built to the oil burner code, but is not rated for use in basements of people’s homes. Insurance regulations seek the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label on oil burners, and UL cannot certify the burner because vegetable oil is not on the list of certifiable fuels. The burner is appropriate for restaurants that generate waste vegetable oil, and other commercial shops, warehouses and farm operations.

Homestead Inc has started a vegetable oil delivery company named CHERE for deliveries of cleaned oils to customers located in Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. CHERE coordinates the deliveries from three regional rendering companies in the Springfield area that collect this restaurant waste stream. CHERE sets the daily price for delivered waste vegetable oil at 20% below the statewide average #2 heating oil price.

Homestead Inc is manufacturing the Yellow Heat burner in Ashfield. Installations can be accomplished by Homestead Inc or any competent burner technician.

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