Biodiesel group pushing fuel quality

After watching biodiesel demand triple annually over the last three years, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) continues to hammer away for greater acceptance and use of biodiesel fuel quality standards

After watching biodiesel demand triple annually over the last three years, the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) continues to hammer away for greater acceptance and use of biodiesel fuel quality standards – critical to expanding biodiesel’s presence in commercial trucking, according to Ed Hegland, the NBB’s technical committee chairman.

”Achieving the ASTM [American Society for Testing and Materials] standard on every batch is critical to protect consumers and maintain the reputation of biodiesel as a high-quality, high-performance fuel,” he stressed at the NBB’s annual conference in San Antonio, TX, earlier this month. “We encourage all biodiesel producers and marketers to achieve and maintain certification under the new BQ-9000 program. Quality is critical – consumers deserve to have their vehicles work without having to think about their fuel.”

Hegland said there are currently six BQ-9000 certified biodiesel marketers and 17 accredited biodiesel producers in the U.S. to date, which accounts for 40% of the nation’s total biodiesel production capacity.

He added that the BQ-9000 helps companies improve their fuel-testing procedures and reduces the chances of producing or distributing out-of-spec fuel – as well as helping companies adhere to the ASTM standard for biodiesel, ASTM D-6751, through quality control systems that include storage, sampling, testing, blending, shipping, distribution, and fuel management practices. Companies must develop a quality control manual and pass a rigorous review of their quality control processes by an independent auditor, he stressed.

State and federal fuel quality outreach programs are also part of the industry’s efforts to enhance biodiesel fuel quality, said Hegland, noting that NBB has asked government agencies to adopt fuel quality standards for biodiesel and enforce them. Currently, half of the states have adopted the ASTM D-6751 specification as part of their fuel quality regulations, with an additional 13 states planning to adopt the specification or studying it, while 10 states now proactively test biodiesel or biodiesel blends.

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