Oilheat Industry Charges R&D Fee

June 11, 2014 By Linda Hardesty

NORA energy manageThe National Oilheat Research Alliance (NORA) has resumed full operations in 2014 after Congress decided to extend the program by five years. Retailers of oilheat began paying a mandatory $.002 per gallon fee in April 2014. The funds are to be used to develop meaningful product improvements for heating oil consumers.

NORA is 100 percent funded by the industry, and its initiatives have helped to reduce oilheat consumption by 30 percent over the last decade, which amounts to nearly $600 in annual savings per customer, according to NORA’s website. When asked why the industry would want to reduce consumption of its own product, NORA’s President John Huber said, “The industry understands the challenge of high energy prices and believes preserving the customer for long term is the best strategy.”

The current NORA statute requires NORA to allocate no less than 30 percent of its annual budget to research and development of new oilheat products, systems and solutions to benefit the seven-million homes and businesses using heating oil for space heating and hot water.

Last week, NORA held its first R&D conference/workshop since Congressional re-authorization. Participating in the conference were a mix of oilheating marketers, installers, technical experts, manufacturers and other interested parties.

Among the covered topics were: renewable bioheat blends, high efficiency heating equipment, fuel quality and advanced heating controls. Ideas included modulating burners, better test equipment for fuel, and higher bioheat blends.

Thousands of buildings in New York City use No. 6 and No. 4 heating oil. In 2011, the city instituted a four-year plan to phase out No. 6 by July 2015 to reduce soot pollution.

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