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Biodiesel Quality Exceeds Specs in Minnesota Testing

Oct 06, 2014
Recent field testing from more than 30 random retail stations scattered throughout the state of Minnesota showed biodiesel blends greatly exceeding important fuel quality parameters set by the industry.

NEWS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kaleb Little/NBB
800-841-5849

Jefferson City, Mo – Recent field testing from more than 30 random retail stations scattered throughout the state of Minnesota showed biodiesel blends greatly exceeding important fuel quality parameters set by the industry. This real-world data showcases the recent trend in increasing biodiesel quality from coast-to-coast.

Minnesota just completed the first summer of a successful run with 10 percent biodiesel (B10) in diesel fuel statewide. Industry experts say the quality of biodiesel in the field is a result of the increasing awareness of quality control measures from production all the way down to the retail level.

“Biodiesel fuel quality is at an all-time high across the industry,” said Scott Fenwick, National Biodiesel Board technical director. “The recent results from the Minnesota testing is just another example of why consumers can feel confident filling up with biodiesel blends.”

A key indicator of fuel quality in biodiesel blends is oxidative stability, which is a measure of degradation caused by exposure to oxygen. Plymouth, Minn., based MEG Corp., a fuel consulting company, took blind samples in September from retailers across three regions in Minnesota — north, metro and south.

All of the samples taken surpassed the minimum required specification for oxidative stability and most of the samples were three to four times better than the minimum. Fenwick said higher values indicate even better stability, and this new real-world data is important as some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) look for more assurances that biodiesel blends are meeting specifications at the pump. The minimum stability requirements within the current biodiesel specs only recommend for biodiesel to be stored for up to six months which is more than enough time for most diesel applications.

“With these high stability values we saw in Minnesota, under well maintained storage conditions, consumers can expect the B10 that they purchased to be good for at least a year according to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory,” said Fenwick. “To see biodiesel outperforming the very stringent specs is a great sign for the industry.”

The current biodiesel specification, ASTM D6751, has approximately 20 parameters to check for fuel quality, including the stability spec. For comparison, diesel fuel’s ASTM D975 only has 13 parameters for fuel to meet.

Along with the strict ASTM standards the biodiesel industry also has a voluntary quality assurance program called BQ-9000 that helps ensure biodiesel is maintained against the ASTM specifications throughout the supply chain. There are currently three voluntary programs developed for producers, fuel marketers and independent laboratories. The efforts to expand the programs have been largely successful with more than 87 percent of biodiesel produced in 2013 originating from a BQ-9000 certified producer.

Biodiesel – made from a variety of resources including soybean oil, recycled cooking oil and animal fats – is the first EPA-designated Advanced Biofuel to reach commercial-scale production nationwide. With plants in nearly every state in the country, the industry had a record U.S. market last year of nearly 1.8 billion gallons. The National Biodiesel Board is the trade association representing the US industry.

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For more information visit biodiesel.org.