The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
Department of Fire Services
P.O. Box 1025 ∼State Road
DEVAL L. PATRICK
Stow, Massachusetts 01775 STEPHEN D. COAN
STATE FIRE MARSHAL
TIMOTHY P. MURRAY (978) 567∼3100 Fax: (978) 567∼3121 THOMAS P. LEONARD
LT. GOVERNOR DEPUTY STATE FIRE MARSHAL
KEVIN M. BURKE
TO: Heads of Fire Departments
FROM: Stephen D. Coan
State Fire Marshal
Thomas G. Gatzunis, P.E., Commissioner
Department of Public Safety
DATE: April 1, 2008
SUBJECT: Non-Commercial Bio-Fuel Production
Our offices are receiving an increasing number of inquires from fire departments
concerning the production of bio-fuels, sometime referred to as bio-diesel, in non-
commercial settings. These inquires typically involve bio-fuel production in single-
Bio-fuel production generally involves the use of combustible liquids such as waste
cooking oil (feedstock). A flammable liquid such as methanol is combined with the
feedstock and a strong alkali (lye). These materials then go through a process, which
includes heating, with the end result being bio-fuel.
A number of regulations are applicable to these operations.
A number of communities restrict or prohibit these activities in residential areas
through locally adopted zoning regulations.
The State Building Code (780 CMR) contains specific provisions related to the use
of any building or structure for the storage and or production of hazardous
substances. In some situations, the production and storage of bio-fuel may change a
buildings use group classification to High Hazard.
Administrative Services • Hazardous Materials Response
Massachusetts Firefighting Academy • Office of the State Fire Marshal
The State Fire Code (527 CMR 9 &14) contains specific permitting, handling, and
storage requirements for the storage and use of flammable and combustible liquids.
Prior to granting permits for bio-fuel production, the fire department should consult
with the local zoning official, and building official as to the applicability of
regulations enforced by those officials Fire officials should also evaluate the
appropriateness of this activity in a non-commercial setting.
If you need further information or assistance, please contact the Code Compliance &
Enforcement Unit at (978) 567-3375 or in western Massachusetts at (413) 587-3181.