A New Standard for Quality
by Erin Voegele (Biodiesel Magazine) It’s been nearly two decades since ASTM International initiated spec development efforts for biodiesel. Since then, the organization has developed specifications for not only B100, but also blends of up to B20. Alterations to specifications for petroleum diesel and oilheat products were also made, allowing blends of up to B5 to be considered fungible components of these fuels.
…Most immediately, the organization is moving to develop No. 1 and No. 2 grades of biodiesel. Additional changes that are in various stages of development include a move to increase the amount of residual biodiesel that can be present in jet fuel, which should open up additional pipeline transportation opportunities; the development of a specification covering higher Bioheat blends; and the possibility of altering the organization’s definition of biodiesel to include new technologies and feedstocks.
…“The No. 1 grade of biodiesel would provide additional assurances that the fuel is going to work down to the cloud point of whatever the blend ends up being,” he explains. “You could have a No. 1 fuel that is not a winter fuel, but what it would do is provide more assurance that with every kind of diesel fuel out there, it would operate down to the cloud point on the blend, wherever your blend ends up being.” The ballot for that change to D6751 is currently out for vote. “The results will be adjudicated at the December ASTM meeting,” Howell says. “That’s the biggest item on the plate right now.”
…Howell notes that a big push from NORA (National Oilheat Research Alliance) has been integral in moving work on the spec forward. NORA has formally issued a vision statement, he says, to move to a 100 percent biodiesel fuel by 2050, which would create an 80 percent carbon emissions reduction when compared to petroleum fuels.
…ASTM is open to clarifying the terminology for biodiesel. “Right now, the definition of biodiesel in the terminology section of D6751 states biodiesel is a mono-alkyl esters of long chain fatty acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats, since that covered all the biodiesel that was being produced or contemplated,” he says. “If we need to change terminology to cover mono-alkyl esters produced from sugars or other processes, then ASTM will entertain ballots to change that so that [the terminology] remains feedstock- and process-neutral, as it has been designed thus far.” READ MORE