Heat your home with soybeans.

A team of agriculture students at Purdue University has invented a new heating fuel made with soybean oil. The oil replaces 20% of the petroleum that is currently used in heating fuel.

The main advantage of this new fuel is its price. Degummed soy oil costs between $0.70 and $1.60/gal., whereas fuel oil can run from $1.10 to $2.35/gal. Last winter, degummed soy oil cost $0.80/gal., whereas heating oil was more than $2/gal. in the Northeast.

The university estimates that if this new blended fuel completely replaced heating fuel reserves, 222 million bushels of soybeans could be used each year to make it. This figure is based on the amount of fuel oil reserves in the year 2000 and a yield of 1.4 gal. of crude degummed soybean oil from 1 bu. of soybeans.

Widespread use of the new fuel also would decrease America's dependence on foreign oil, and the fuel would be more environmentally friendly than petroleum.

The Indiana Soybean Board now will be responsible for bringing the students' invention to market. For more information, contact the board at 800/735-0195 or www.indianasoybeanboard.com.

Waste oil heaters

Heat your shop with the used oil from your tractors or other vehicles with a waste oil-fired heater from Lenan Corporation. The many available models use 120v AC power while drawing between 14 and 16.5 amps. The heaters kick out between 140,000 and 320,000 Btu/hr. to heat areas ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 sq. ft. A complete disposal system includes tank, heater, pump, filters, air compressor and piping kit. Suggested retail prices: $3,695 to $5,995. Contact Lenan Corp., Dept. FIN, 4109 Capital Circle Dr., Janesville, WI 53546, 800/753-1601, www.lanair.com.

Infrared heaters

An extensive new line of infrared heaters is on the market. Vantage heaters, from Roberts-Gordon, run on either natural gas or propane, come in a variety of sizes and tube lengths, and heat shops, machine sheds and other buildings. The heaters feature a burner box design with a protective enclosure for controls. The company claims infrared heaters are more fuel efficient than conventional heaters and provide faster heat recovery. Price: not available at press time. Contact Madonna Courtney, Roberts-Gordon, Dept. FIN, 1250 William St., Buffalo, NY 14206, 800/828-7450, www.rg-inc.com.