EPA expands RFS definition of heating fuel

By Staff | October 25, 2013

The U.S. EPA has published a final rule to expand the definition of heating oil under the renewable fuels standard (RFS). The amendment expands the scope of renewable fuels that can be used to comply with the RFS by adding an additional category of compliant fuel produced from qualifying biomass that is used to generate heat to warm homes or other buildings. However, renewable identification numbers cannot be generated for the new category of fuel oils if that fuel is used to generate process heat, power, or other functions.

The original definition of heating oil included any No. 1 or No. 2 nonpetroleum diesel blend that is sold for use in furnaces, boilers and similar applications and contains at least 80 percent mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats. The expanded definition includes biobased fuel oils that do not meet the original definition but are actually used to heat homes and other facilities to control ambient climate for human comfort.