New York City passes B2 heating oil mandate

By Luke Geiver | September 20, 2010
Surrounded by members of New York City's biodiesel industry, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Intro 194-A, validating a three-year struggle to bring biodiesel and heating oil together. The bill, originally sponsored by the Chairman of the New York City Council Environmental Protection Committee, James Gennaro, requires all grades of heating oil sold in the city to contain at least 2 percent biodiesel starting in October 2012. While the infusion of biodiesel into the Big Apple's heating oil supply will have to wait a few years, the impact of the bill immediately resonates to the rest of the country, according to Gennaro.

"When people see all the brainwaves we put into debunking some of the myths about biodiesel and biofuels," Gennaro told Biodiesel Magazine, "it will go a long ways against those that harbor reservations about a fuel that can provide environmental benefits." For Gennaro and others involved with making the biodiesel heating oil bill a reality, fighting against those who didn't know the truth about biodiesel benefits made the process difficult-but in the end, "we finally prevailed," Gennaro said.

To satisfy the B2 mandate, 20 million gallons of B100 will be needed, and according to Gennaro, part of the success of the bill directly relates to one of New York City's main biodiesel suppliers, Metro Biofuels. "We are already seeing a big investment in biodiesel heating oil," he said, and, "Metro is doing that by putting their money where their mouth is." In the first quarter of 2011, Metro will open a 110 MMgy biodiesel processing facility in Brooklyn, capable of using soy, grease, canola or algae as feedstock. Gene Pullo, president and CEO of Metro said that as more and more people started using biodiesel-blended heating oil, they began to question why all heating oil didn't include biodiesel. During the three years before the bill became official, Pullo said, "As a company, we spent a lot of time building relationships with environmental and public health organizations, and working with policymakers to understand our businesses and how it can benefit the city." The key, he added, was working together, and "never giving up."

The result of that hard work is a mandate, Pullo said, that confirms all the hard work and the belief that biodiesel is a major component of our energy future. Gennaro would agree, but he also emphasizes the importance of the mandate for those outside the city. "This is a significant day for NYC and those other cities that are trying to make common sense energy policies," adding, "There are sources out there that don't tell the real story. We've created a body of work that people should look at and emulate." And, as for alternative legislation on biodiesel blending heating oil, "there is no need to reinvent the wheel."

"I actually call it sexy," said Daniel Falcone, wholesale manager for Ultra Green Energy Services LLC. There's no denying this looks good to the industry, Falcone added. The success of the bill, however, doesn't mean biodiesel use in the city won't change. Pullo said, "We expect that once building owners get started on biodiesel at a 2 percent blend, they will love it and eventually blend up to B5, B10 and B20."
 
 
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