Southern New England Energy Conference, NORA Workshops: Sept. 24-25


The Southern New England Energy Conference and NORA Technical Workshops will be held concurrently, Monday, Sept. 24 and Tuesday, Sept. 25 at the Newport Marriott in Newport, R.I.

This will be the fifth annual conference for petroleum marketers, retailers, and wholesalers of heating oil, Bioheat, diesel, gasoline, propane, and kerosene. For more information, and to register, visit

The NORA Workshops include opening remarks by John Huber, president of the National Oilheat Research Alliance, on what the Alliance and the industry are doing to respond to efforts to lower greenhouse gases in the heating oil states. Following Huber’s remarks, a lineup of presentations is scheduled to run throughout the two days. On Monday:

“Environmental Goals for Heating Oil Country,” will feature the Alliance’s research and development expert, Richard Sweetser, addressing how the states plan to meet those environmental goals. Sweetser will describe the environmental policy that favors an all-electric economy powered by renewable electricity. Can similar gains envisioned by the regulators be achieved by the bioheating industry at lower costs?

“Responding to Europe’s 2050 Environmental Goals,” will feature a talk by Dr. Ernst-Moritz Bellingen, from Eurofuels, describing the challenges the heating industry in Europe is facing and how it is responding.


Also on the schedule is the fall meeting of the NORA Board, which will include a review of budgets and the accomplishments of NORA and the challenges ahead. All are welcome to attend, but the Board notes that this is a working meeting.

“New Technologies for Liquid Fuels,” will focus on how oil-heating technology has steadily evolved from the development of the flame-retention burner.  Work is focusing on the need for a burner that can burn biofuels, that can modulate and power the next generation of equipment. NORA has supported this technology development, and two of the developers will describe their activities; plus, there will be an update on similar efforts in Europe.

A status report on the Babington Burner, and a technical review, will be delivered by Andrew Babington of Babington Technology. Jason Targoff, Novatio Engineering, will give a talk on “Aerosol-Enabled Liquid Fuel Combustion.”

In “Technology Update from Europe,” Dr. Klaus Lucka, Tech-4-Fuels, Germany, will discuss efforts to advance novel technologies to improve burners and boilers and integrate with solar and wind power.

“Achieving Higher Efficiency,” will feature an update from NORA and the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) on research to understand and improve the efficiency of tankless coils. The presenter will be Neehad Islam, NORA research engineer
“Fuel-Fired Heat Pump” will cover efficiency. Heating Oil has been achieving AFUE’s of 86 for decades and recently manufacturers have broken the 90% efficiency barrier. Stone Mountain Technology will describe its technology, with potential to jump efficiency still further, fired by a renewable fuel.

“Integrating Heating Oil with Air-Source Heat Pumps” will address how small “cold weather heat pumps” have attracted attention throughout the northeast. However, they are not efficient at low-temperatures and cannot heat a house on cold days in the north, notes Dr. Tom Butcher of NORA. Butcher will describe the joint project with NYSERDA to understand the efficiency of these devices and how they are being integrated with existing boilers.

“Flame Quality Indicator” will cover concerns that biofuels, because of their flame temperature and oxygen content, may change the profile of the flame. Dr. Tom Butcher will review the NORA research on this topic.

On Tuesday:

“Biofuels” will cover liquid renewable fuels as the answer to meeting the goals of reducing greenhouse gases. Considerations and challenges to be discussed include increasingly higher blend rates, new fuels from new sources, constraints on supply and the question of how new fuels will work with existing infrastructure.

“Renewable Fuels from Wood” will provide an update on a NORA field study of a new fuel made from cellulosic material/wood waste. Cellulose has long been considered the holy grail of biofuels, as the world is full of wood waste, lawn waste, etc., and if it can be converted to fuel that residential customers can use, it would be a fuel that has a very low greenhouse gas profile and would be readily available. Biofine Technology, Framingham, Mass., will give an update on its research and activities.

“NORA Lab Studies on Biofuels,” will feature an update from Ryan Kerr, NORA research engineer. Kerr has been evaluating different fuels in the lab—biodiesel, renewable diesel, heating oil, and ethyl levulinate—to find the best blend to interact with equipment, and then match it with the best fuel for the environment.

“Impact of Copper on Fuels” will feature Marty Haverly of biofuel manufacturer REG discussing the widespread presence of copper in heating systems. Is that a problem for biofuels? Haverly will review research undertaken by REG and NORA.

“Biodiesel Feedstock Outlook” will cover growing interest in using more biodiesel at higher blend levels. Such levels will require increased levels of oils and fats. The National Biodiesel Board (NBB) has identified feedstock development as a top research goal for the industry, and will update the audience on current feedstock outlooks, and options being considered to meet higher future demand for biodiesel.

In “New Ideas for the Industry” papers identifying research underway at equipment manufacturers or in private laboratories will be welcomed.

In “Panel Discussion on the Future,” NORA will host a final wrap-up discussion of the activities of the conference.  The panel and audience will have an opportunity to discuss the research underway as well as challenges that NORA should address in the future.


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