NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Tucked in with the regular oil tanks on New Haven’s harbor is American GreenFuels. It is the largest biodiesel refinery on the eastern seaboard, and it is a refinery that makes heating oil in a very different way.

“Used cooking oil is very plentiful from New York restaurants. So, we source the used cooking oil from collectors, who then deliver it to our plant,” said Paul Teta, the Vice President of Kolmar, GreenFuels parent company. “Then we convert it, through a chemical process into biodiesel.”

Biodiesel can be used in cars and trucks, and it can be used for heating. You may already be using it. It is blended into heating oil right now, at rates from 5% to 30%.

“So, we’re getting a premium product that delivers environmental benefits, it delivers value to customers, explained Chris Herb, the President of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association. “It’s being delivered by 600 local, family businesses.”

Winter heating worries mount amid growing costs

Even better, when burned, biodiesel emits a tiny fraction of the carbon regular oil emits. And again, it’s all made right here in the tri-state area.

Having home-grown options for heating oil is more important than ever. Ever since the war in Ukraine began, there has been a lot of volatility in the world oil market. Volatility means prices usually go up.

Chris Herb says the price of heating oil is still less than what it was at the end of last season, but it is climbing. Plus, the colder it gets, the more fuel gets used more demand usually raises prices.

“There’s no way to predict actually where prices are going to sort themselves out,” Herb said. “I will tell you, like I said, there’s going to be a lot of factors that will go into what will determine what we ultimately pay to heat our homes.”

State law requires half of all heating oil to be biodiesel by 2035.