Homestead Inc., a startup company in Williamsburg, MA, is introducing new and revolutionary technology. Their invention, called the “Yellow Heat” burner, is a new type of space heating burner that is capable of running on any oil, including the promising ability to burn waste vegetable oil for useful space heating. In a world where resources become more and more scarce, and energy becomes more important each day, the Yellow Heat burner provides energy in a way that helps mitigate climate change, uses safer fuels, and all in a cost-effective manner. Their slogan “Cleaner - Safer - Cheaper” is delivered on, and the potential for the expansion of this technology is something that deserves attention.
I first learned about the burner through an internship program with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Coalition, as I feel that clean and sustainable energy is one of the greatest trials currently facing humanity. However, I did not expect the potential that the Yellow Heat burner holds until I heard the details of how it works during my time working. The greatest impact, in my mind, is environmental. Climate change is a major issue that only a select few are working to mitigate, but it cannot be said that Homestead Inc hasn’t made big efforts. Using the Yellow Heat burner, one can completely replace #2 oil with vegetable oil, which reduces the carbon intensity (a metric that determines the amount of pollutants released per unit of energy) of emissions by 98%. Each home or business that can use the Yellow Heat burner can actually cut the carbon footprint of their heating fifty-fold. That’s an incredible innovation no matter what way you look at it. It’s also not the only way that the Yellow Heat burner serves the environment; it releases no potentially toxic particles or sulfur into the atmosphere the way conventional oil does. Yellow Heat doesn’t just work to make an intermediate while we research sustainable energy; it is sustainable energy.
Thanks to its lack of harmful compounds, the fuel for Yellow Heat is also completely non-toxic. You could drink the stuff and be fine (not that I’d recommend that). Compared to other fuels, vegetable oil also has a particularly high ignition temperature; high enough that it isn’t even considered a flammable hazard. Maintenance of the burner can thus be done by just about anyone. It’s simple enough that it can be completely explained in less than 10 minutes. The procedure is always consistent, thanks to the “Babington Ball” burner head that is for all intents and purposes completely uncloggable. If you’ve ever had to deal with repairs on a heating system, you know just how expensive the labor of a technician really is, and that’s only one way the system saves you money.
If none of the above is convincing, then I know what is: Yellow Heat fuel is dirt cheap. After the costs of initial installation, you can sustain it with cheap purified vegetable oil (which is sold by the company for only 80% the cost of #2 oil), or you can even procure it from nearby restaurants if they are willing to sell it or even just give it away for free. Want to stick it to those oil companies that do so much to corrupt our environment and political landscape? Well, this may be one of your best options. Often times, finding ways to reduce your carbon footprint is difficult, and at times more expensive. Mitigating the damage we do to the environment takes work and sacrifice. However, this is one way you can save money while you help save the world. The Yellow Heat burner isn’t just a helpful agent in stopping our emissions; it’s a powerful social innovation as well. Homes and businesses on the smaller side that need all the monetary aid they can benefit from the Yellow Heat burner, and that extra cushion of saved money could make the difference in truly hard times. Yellow Heat not only helps globally, but locally as well.
In my mind, Yellow Heat is planting the seed of something truly beautiful. It has been said in the past that we build on the shoulders of giants, and Yellow Heat is a titan we can rest on. If the technology receives more attention, more innovators can participate in working with waste vegetable oil, and use it in more unique ways. We’ve already seen cars powered by vegetable oil and other biofuels, and now we can take it to homes and businesses. What the future holds for this fuel, I don’t know, but that’s the beauty of it. If innovation comes to vegetable oil, only good things will come. Keep your eyes on that grease, once thought worthless, as it may one day save us.
There are things, however, that stand in the way of Yellow Heat’s progress. The largest of which is the fact that the Yellow Heat burner, while a perfectly functional burner on all types of oil, cannot yet be approved for some homes due to waste vegetable oil not being considered a fuel legally by the EPA. Considering that the use of vegetable oil is not only perfectly safe, but a much better alternative to the use of current petroleum products, this must change. Contact your congressional representatives, let them know that the laws should account for this. Consider writing to the EPA about the benefits of waste vegetable oil. After all, this change benefits everyone in the long-term. We’re talking about energy that truly is cleaner, safer, and cheaper.