Oil-burning heating systems are a fact of life for many colleges and universities in the Northeast—and the concerns about carbon emissions that come with them. Those concerns aren’t just abstract, either. States like Massachusetts are exploring regulations that impose much stricter guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions, and updating or replacing industrial-grade heating systems is an expensive proposition. But green fuel for universities is real, and it can change the game for oil-burning schools without requiring a change of equipment.
That’s a big deal, because Massachusetts is telegraphing its intention to impose new standards on heating oil suppliers with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from heating systems through its Clean Heat Standard program. More than 80 percent of all heating oil is used in the Northeast, and in Massachusetts the commercial/education sector uses almost as much heating oil as all the nearly one million homes heated that way. Home heating accounts for more than 30 percent of all Massachusetts emissions, and the Clean Heat Standard is designed to influence suppliers and consumers to improve efficiency and move toward heating options that create less climate impact. The program sets emissions benchmarks for 2025 and 2030 that are designed to incrementally reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Truburn, an alternative fuel developed by Lifecycle Renewables, is transforming the way universities and colleges warm their campuses. Truburn is made from restaurant waste oil that used to be considered nothing more than an end-stage nuisance. But when Truburn’s waste-based formulation is used in traditional oil-burning boilers like the ones that heat many schools in the Northeast, it produces more than 80 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than regular heating oil. “If you’re using an oil-capable system, Truburn is a drop-in fuel,” says Lifecycle Renewables CEO and co-founder Rory Gaunt. “It works just like petroleum-based heating oil. It goes into the combustion chamber and burns to create heat and steam in the large utility-grade boilers you find in large education and commercial buildings.”
That means Truburn doesn’t require any special equipment purchases, and there’s no price premium to burn a carbon-neutral fuel. Truburn is delivered and stored just like conventional heating oil and costs roughly the same as well. Harvard University and Bates College are just a few of the institutions that have already made the switch to cleaner, greener energy.
How sustainable—and scalable—is used cooking oil as a fuel supply? Lifecycle Renewables sources its supply from food service businesses in the Northeast which produce nearly 100 million gallons per year. The waste is converted into Truburn and delivered to clients ranging in size from Keene State College in New Hampshire to the cities of Boston and Philadelphia—where Truburn has replaced heating oil for carbon-neutral steam production that warms millions of square feet of commercial, educational, health care, sporting and residential buildings.
Truburn is the green fuel for universities interested in reducing their carbon footprint ahead of coming emissions regulations. “Our sourcing happens locally—oil that is being used in Boston is sourced in Boston,” says Gaunt. “It’s as if you have a renewable well of oil nearby. We’re trying to close the recycling loop for our customers when it comes to energy.” To see how easy it is to get clean, talk to a Truburn representative today and get a personalized institutional heating evaluation and plan.