When Rick Bologna's family started Westmore Fuel Company in 1938, they delivered coal and ice to local homes.
As times and technology changed, the Byram-based Westmore became a distributor of heating oil and diesel fuel, with its fuel terminal located along the Byram River on Purdy Avenue in Port Chester. The facility provides fuel for homes and businesses in Westchester County and Fairfield County.
On Wednesday, the company celebrated its latest evolution as it officially opened an new addition to its fuel terminal that handles biodiesel and bioheat fuels — environmentally friendly products that are made from agricultural byproducts.
The expanded facility includes a new 20,000-gallon tank, special pipes and new, digitally-controlled mixing equipment. Bologna says that new equipment allows Westmore to mix the biofuel with traditional heating oil and diesel fuel to produce a new fuel that contains 20 percent biofuel.
The biofuel needed for the process is trucked into Port Chester, while the traditional heating oil and diesel fuel stored on Purdy Avenue is delivered by barges on the Byram River to Westmore's storage tanks.
Bologna said the project has been five years in development, and received $200,000 in financial assistance from the New York State Energy and Development Authority — which focuses on encouraging use of alternative energy sources.
While the biofuels are fairly new, Bologna said heating oil customers do not need to make any changes to their heating systems to use the environmentally-friendly fuel. He said homeowners benefit because the bioheat fuel burns cleaner, cutting down on maintenance needs for home heating systems.
Additionally, Bologna said Westmore bioheat customers can get a 20-cent per gallon rebate through their New York State income taxes because of a state tax credit system. The savings, he said, means hundreds of dollars a year for most bioheat customers.