In late March, Bates started heating 12 residences on Frye Street with oil containing renewable, cleaner-burning biofuel.
The fuel is called B5, a blend of 5 percent biofuel in a petroleum base. Made from soy or canola oil, biofuel (aka biodiesel) is a cleaner alternative to both conventional heating oil and diesel vehicle fuel. Bates has joined a handful of other Maine institutions heating with B5, including Colby College.
Burner warranty issues will keep the proportion of the substance in heating oil low for now. Still, “Bates people are always looking for alternatives that are more environmentally friendly,” says Bob Leavitt of Facility Services, which initiated the new arrangement with American Alternative Energy, of Gorham.