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Burner Booster??

BobC Member Posts: 5,479
<span style="font-size:16pt"><span>Has anybody heard anything about this? It sure would be nice to shave a bit off the old oil bill!



Oil-mist system may burn less cash</span>

Entrepreneur’s idea is simple: Get the soot out

Eric LaVoie invented the Burner Booster, a pump and valve system that helps oil burners work more efficiently.

By Erin Ailworth

Globe Staff / March 28, 2011

HOLLISTON — Eric Lavoie’s idea was simple: Turn heating oil into a mist, providing more surface area to burn, and it will generate heat more efficiently. For consumers, that would mean using less fuel and spending less money to heat their homes.

Lavoie’s idea has become the basis of a new system, called the Burner Booster, being tested in a handful of New England homes and government buildings, including a minimum security prison in Plymouth.

Company tests, backed by independent analysts, show that furnaces with a Burner Booster use as much as 35 percent less oil to generate the same amount of heat, while producing less soot and reducing greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions by 30 percent or more.

The invention could have interesting implications for New England, which depends on heating oil to keep warm. In Massachusetts, nearly 40 percent of households heat with oil, according to the US Department of Energy. In Maine, it’s 80 percent. Nearly 60 percent of homes heat with oil in both New Hampshire and Vermont.

The price of heating oil has soared and plunged and soared again in recent years, in parallel with dramatic fluctuations in the price of crude oil, driving many households to seek lower cost alternatives, from pellet stoves to natural gas. Crude and heating oil prices have spiked in recent weeks as unrest rages through oil-producing regions in northern Africa and the Middle East.

Lavoie said the Burner Booster could make heating oil competitive with natural gas again. His start-up, Energy Efficiency Solutions LLC of Holliston, is beginning to sell the system in New Hampshire, with units starting at $5,900. At today’s home heating oil prices, averaging $3.89 per gallon in Massachusetts, and assuming 30 percent better oil-burning efficiency, it would take a little over two years for the system to pay for itself for a consumer who now uses 2,400 gallons of oil each year.

Natural gas conversions cost $5,000 to $10,000 — if service is available.

All of this has the state Department of Energy Resources looking closely at Burner Booster. State energy officials are awaiting more results from Burner Booster demonstration sites to decide whether Lavoie’s system is something that might work in other public buildings.

“So far, from everything we can see and everything we’ve heard, it looks like a promising technology,’’ said Eric Friedman, director of the Leading by Example program, which promotes emissions reductions and energy efficiency at state facilities. “It looks like a fairly inexpensive way to get quickly at reductions of oil usage.’’

The idea for the Burner Booster came to Lavoie five years ago, as he waited at a Medfield gas station for his annual vehicle inspection. A former industrial engineer, Lavoie noticed the station’s heating system — fueled with waste motor oil — had too many electrical components and left the place sooty. He figured he could help.

He talked to the station owner about replacing the setup with something simpler, then began tinkering in his garage on a high-pressure pump-and-valve system to burn waste motor oil more cleanly. A stream of oil mist, he thought, might do the trick. It took about a year to come up with the first Burner Booster, a box in which fuel travels through a pump and out a nozzle as mist.

“If it works,’’ he told the station owner. “I want free inspection stickers for life.’’

He hasn’t paid for a vehicle inspection since.

Lavoie’s father-in-law then convinced him to adapt the system for heating oil furnaces. After a good deal of experimenting, the Burner Booster worked well enough — almost too well to believe — that Lavoie had it tested at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Fire Science Laboratory and at an air-quality consulting company.

Today, the Burner Booster is undergoing pilot tests. At the state’s minimum security prison in Plymouth, a Burner Booster installed in a dormitory last year cut fuel use by about 35 percent, or 1,800 gallons, said Jeff Quick, director of the division of resource management at the Department of Correction. At $3 a gallon, that’s $5,400 in savings.

Tom McColl, who spends about $4,000 a year heating his Natick home, began using a Burner Booster three or four months ago and has cut his fuel use by about 20 percent, he said. That’s $800 a year in savings.

“My house is kind of a sieve, and when it’s cold outside you’d think my old chugalug furnace would have to work harder,’’ he said, but “we’ve used less oil than last year.’’

The promise of such savings is also sparking interest among advocates for the poor.

With Congress considering cuts in the federal program that helps low-income households pay heating bills, anything that might help families lower fuel costs is intriguing, said John Drew, head of Action for Boston Community Development. The nonprofit agency assists families applying for home heating aid. An estimated 270,000 across the state were expected to request assistance this winter, up from 250,000 last season

“Yeah, I can get excited about that,’’ Drew said. “We’ve got so many people in need.’’

The big question, Drew said, is whether poor families could afford a Burner Booster without subsidies.

Michael Ferrante, head of the Massachusetts Oilheat Council, a heating oil dealers trade group, said he has not heard much about the Burner Booster and is withholding judgment.

“If the Burner Booster can reduce greenhouse gas emissions,’’ Ferrante said, “hats off.’’

Erin Ailworth can be reached at <a href="mailto:eailworth@globe.com">eailworth@globe.com</a>.

© Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.
Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
3PSI gauge


  • meplumber
    meplumber Member Posts: 678
    The latest "Snake Oil Salesman."

    Bob, every time fuel oil takes a leap in price, we see all these "new miracle cures" hit the market.

    The fact is that your oil burner already atomizes the oil down to a fine mist during combustion.  The exception being if you had an ancient low pressure burner.  And I do mean ancient.

    Your money would be better spent by having a professional evaluate your system and install a quality outdoor reset control.  This control would lower your boilers water temperature as the outside temperature increases.  Also, having him setup the system with a combustion analyzer to ensure it is running at peak efficiency.

    Beware of miracle cures.  They don't exist.

    Good Luck.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
    I understand what you mean

    about miracle cures coming out of the woodwork but I'm sure the Becket oil gun was looked at with a bit of skepticism when it first appeared.

    I'll just keep an eye on this in case it becomes viable when my boiler needs replacing - hopefully many years down the road.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    Steam head I think has seen this

    I have been invited to tour the place, just have not had time to stop in yet. If I get a chance I will let you know how it goes.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,888
    Well, I was supposed to

    but the rep never called back to say when he'd be in the area. Oh well........

    What I do know is that this thing is geared toward light commercial/large residential use, since the very high pressures it runs only lets you go down so far with currently available nozzles. It also preheats the oil- which the Carlin people are also doing with their 2-stage H2L burner, whenever that becomes available.

    I seem to remember some folks taking the same position when flame-retention burners came out in the 1970s- "snake oil", etc. Now they're the standard, offering clean combustion with no smoke or soot- assuming they're set up properly, which amazingly is still an issue.

    So we need to watch these newer burners closely as they come out.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • chapchap70
    chapchap70 Member Posts: 139
    Doesn't make sense.

    If we already get an 85% efficiency for non condensing equipment, where do we get the extra 30%.  Are there more BTU's in heating oil than we thought?
  • Al Letellier_21
    Al Letellier_21 Member Posts: 402
    burner booster

    I've responded to this before, but take the time to check it out. I was in their new production facility in Mass a couple weeks ago. They have teamed up with Webster and the unit includes a new burner. It's a well built and very interesting unit that will do well on commercial boilers where nat gas is not available. May be  pricey for smaller residential use but for commercial boilers its doing a really good job from the numbers I've seen. Had a chance to invest early on, but as they say:"hindsight is always 20-20". Give it a good look see......I think it will live up to its expectations.
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