Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Field Demonstration of Ultra-low Sulfur Heating Oil(ST10007-1)

Energy Research Center, Inc


Nearly three million households (40% of NYS residents) and numerous businesses in New York State use almost two billion gallons of fuel oil per year for heating. Conventional heating oil has a sulfur content of approximately 0.2 percent (2,000 ppm) with regional variations throughout New York State. Improved heating equipment and new fuels offer the potential for significant energy, environmental and economic benefits in the oil heat market. Conventional heating oil in New York State has an average sulfur content of approximately 0.2 percent (or 2,000 ppm.). NYSERDA and the Buhrmaster Energy Group recently completed a demonstration (agreement no. 6204) using low (0.05 percent or 500 ppm) sulfur heating oil in approximately 1.000 homes in Albany. The study showed that reduced sulfur levels in heating oil can achieve significant benefits related to fuel consumption, equipment maintenance, and emissions. Recent regulations promulgated by USEPA have initiated a transition to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel for on-road transportation and off-road construction/agricultural/marine applications. Individual states in the northeast (including New York) are considering additional regulations to reduce the maximum allowable sulfur content in heating oil for residential and commercial buildings.

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Project Description

1. Select a test group of 100 homes to receive ultra-low sulfur heating oil and a control group to receive conventional heating oil 2. Conduct training of fuel dealer personnel 3. Perform equipment cleanings at the start of the testing period 4. Track service calls to the test group and control group during the heating season 5. Perform combustion tests to monitor consistency of performance. 6. Test the concept of extended cleaning intervals (two or three years instead of each year) 7. Evaluate total costs and savings


Benefits include improved service life and reduced maintenance costs for oil-fired heating systems and reduced emissions of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and PM2.5.

Project Results


Energy Research Center, Inc
35 Fawn Road
Easton, CT 06612

Principle Investigator

John Batey

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Product Demonstration

Technologies Types:

Building Systems
Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning

NYSERDA Contact Information

Megan Bulman


R&D - Buildings Research

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST10007-1

Last Updated: 3/7/2012 3