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Farmers & Business Owners Can Save $$$ With "Yellow Heat"

by Mary Arsenault


If you’re heating with #2 home heating oil, your three biggest problems with it are the expense, the toxicity (especially if it’s spilled!), and the negative environmental impact that results from its use.

Attempting to solve all three of these problems, local businessman and inventor Tom Leue of Ashfield spent the past 14 years developing his invention, “Yellow Heat,” which is a modification to conventional oil burners that enables the burner to utilize vegetable oil - even “dirty” waste vegetable oils - cleanly and efficiently.

Says Leue, “While the Yellow Heat system can use any kind of oil, we promote using waste vegetable oil since it’s really inexpensive, it’s non-toxic, it heats just as good as anything else, and it causes virtually no environmental impacts.”

Waste vegetable oil, that which has previously been used for frying foods, is the cheapest oil there is but, until now, unusable for heating, since it would easily clog the burner. Leue’s patented Yellow Heat incorporates a Babington ball as the burner head in a manner that is uncloggable. Oil is coated over the hollow, ping pong ball-sized Babington ball, and a small hole in the ball shoots out compressed air, which atomizes the oil allowing it to be easily ignited. Any debris in the oil is automatically filtered out, and any unatomized oil is recycled back into the oil tank for later use.

“No other company offers a complete transition system from fossil fuel to renewable vegetable oil fuel,” says Leue. “And with our system, you can use any kind of oil at all - regular #2 heating oil, biodiesel, vegetable oil, even used, dirty vegetable oil from frying vats. If you’re a restaurant owner, instead of selling your used frying oil for around 15 cents a gallon, with Yellow Heat you could pour the dirty oil right into your oil tank and heat your restaurant with it for free.”

Burning vegetable oil, or “yellow grease” as its known in the industry, provides 95% of the BTUs per gallon that you would get with #2 oil. However, yellow grease costs 20% less per gallon than #2 oil, so while you would need 105 gallons of yellow grease to produce the same amount of heat as 100 gallons of #2 oil, with the price of yellow grease being 20% less, the net savings on your heating bill would be 16%. Plus, EPA accepted studies show that the burning of yellow grease results in a 98% reduction on carbon footprint as compared to burning equal amounts of regular home heating oil.

“I am a great believer in climate change and the impacts that are starting to accumulate,” says Leue. “I promoted biodiesel for years because it was better and cleaner than fossil fuel. But I’m now closing down our biodiesel sales operation after 19 years in business to focus exclusively on yellow grease, which is the greenest technology available. It’s better for the planet and a great cost saver.”

Leue’s Yellow Heat burner fits most smaller boilers and furnaces, and modifications to the actual burner or furnace are usually not necessary. The burner requires an air compressor to operate, but all other systems are included in the package. Leue sells his Yellow Heat system nationwide via UPS for $1,500, and it can be installed by any licensed oil heat technician. He offers installations locally, which would add about $500 to the price. With the savings in fuel oil, the Yellow Heat system quickly pays for itself.

You can get delivery of yellow grease, just like you would regular heating oil through CHERE, also owned by Tom Leue, which has access to thousands of gallons of yellow grease every day through three rendering companies located in Springfield. He delivers within a 50 mile radius of Williamsburg.

Waste oil burners of all kinds are categorically not approved by Underwriter’s Laboratory for home heating systems mainly because the waste oil used has been of the toxic variety, such as used motor oil. Most insurance companies will either not insure a home against fire if one is in use, or will charge higher premiums. While the Yellow Heat system employs state-of-the-art safety systems, and is actually as safe, if not safer than standard oil heating systems, its legitimate use right now is limited to businesses.

Says Leue, “It’s great for heating greenhouses, barns, industrial spaces, and restaurant owners can save even more by recycling their used vegetable oil.”

In addition to being an inventor, Tom Leue was the Energy Manager for the City of Northampton for 12 years, and he developed and managed the solar sewage treatment plant for the town of Ashfield for several years. Through his business Homestead, Inc., Tom has managed asbestos in local public schools, tested buildings for radon, and made maple syrup. He developed a biodiesel refinery and sold biodiesel fuel for 19 years, and he’s also a sanitary engineer, who designs, services, and does Title V testing of septic systems.

Tom and his wife Nancy have been married for nearly 50 years and live on the family farm in Ashfield. They have two daughters, Emily (Andrew) and Anna (Peter), and three grandchildren: Xander, Morgan, and the newly born Felicity.

Yellow Heat is available through Homestead, Inc. located at 1692 Cape Street in Ashfield (Route 112), about a mile north of the DAR State forest in Goshen. The business is open in the afternoons, 7 days per week. You can contact Tom Leue at 413-628-4533, 800-285-4533, or email him at vegheat@gmail.com. For more information on Homestead, Inc. or Yellow Heat visit the websites www.YellowHeat.com and www.HomesteadInc.net


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