U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal Tours American Green Fuels in New Haven, Conn. Courtesy WTNH-TV

When it comes to the future of biodiesel in America, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said it best.

“Biodiesel has to be part of our energy future,” Sen. Blumenthal said while touring the largest biodiesel manufacturer on the Eastern Seaboard, located in Connecticut.

“Made in America, from food waste in America, to be used in America more efficiently and environmentally friendly. That’s a win-win-win for America,” Sen. Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal toured American Green Fuels in New Haven in October to see for himself what biodiesel has to offer for Connecticut’s economy and energy future.

“What I’m going to do in the United States Senate is work for more tax credits, more rebates, more energy efficiency and environmentally friendly sources of fuels, like this one,” he said. “Biodiesel has to be part of our energy future. We need more of it because it takes that food waste and makes heating oil that is cleaner and more energy efficient and that is really a win-win that we ought to encourage through our tax system and other ways in our laws.”

Chris Herb

We couldn’t agree with him more, and as the state considers a new plan for its energy future, we are encouraging state policy makers and regulators to follow Senator Blumenthal’s lead.

This month, Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection held more technical hearings concerning its Comprehensive Energy Strategy 2022. Two more are planned in December. The main goal is to “decarbonize” the state’s economy regarding how we heat our homes and drive to work; simply put, the goal is to electrify everything by promoting electric heating sources for homes like electric heat pumps, and electric vehicles for transportation.

On the surface, this may sound great to many people, but we and others have raised serious concerns regarding the plan. The big one is that our electricity grid is already overburdened and hooking up more cars and homes to the fragile grid could max it out. The second issue is that our grid is not net zero in carbon emissions as some in Hartford would like you to think. Its main fuel source is natural gas and during cold winter months, oil and coal also help keep it running.

This is where biodiesel comes into play and ought be included in the state’s new energy strategy. Biodiesel is made from discarded cooking oil and food waste as Senator Blumenthal already stated. It’s made in the U.S.A. and recycles food waste — that otherwise would end up in landfills — and turns it into a clean, renewable and sustainable fuel. It also lowers greenhouse emissions by more than 86 percent!

If you heat your home with home heating oil, as more than 50 percent of people in Connecticut already do, you are already using biodiesel. By law, biodiesel is mixed with ultra-low-sulfur heating oil and it’s in your tanks right now. By 2035, 50 percent of all home heating oil in Connecticut will be a biodiesel blend. Biodiesel is a direct replacement of fossil fuels that can be used in the equipment that is already in your basement without any expensive upgrade. It reduces our dependency on foreign oil and helps to secure our energy future. Plus, it doesn’t require hooking up to our electric grid to use it.

Not to mention, it fuels our local economy by providing thousands of jobs.

“I’m just enormously impressed by the folks who work here and they have come here during COVID, during the pandemic, they continued working to produce energy that we need here in America,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “The encouragement that we can provide for plants like this one is really essential to our energy future in America.”

We urge state leaders to follow Sen. Blumenthal’s lead.

Chris Herb is the president and CEO of the Connecticut Energy Marketers Association (CEMA).