ASTM Publishes New Biodiesel Blend Specs

John Davis

New specifications for biodiesel have been published by one of the most highly regarded standard development organizations in the world.

ASTM International has published new biodiesel blend specifications for:

* ASTM D975-08a, Specification for Diesel Fuel Oils — used for on- and off-road diesel applications; revised to include requirements for up to 5 percent biodiesel.
* ASTM D396-08b, Specification for Fuel Oils — used for home heating and boiler applications; revised to include requirements for up to 5 percent biodiesel.
* ASTM D7467-08, Specification for Diesel Fuel Oil, Biodiesel Blend (B6 to 20) — a completely new specification that covers finished fuel blends of between 6 (B6) and 20 (B20) percent biodiesel for on- and off-road diesel engine use.

The move is seen as a benefit to biodiesel makers, consumers, as well as engine and vehicle manufacturers. It received praise in this National Biodiesel Board release:

Bob McCormick, Principal Engineer on Fuels Performance at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), said, “The new ASTM standards for biodiesel blends are the result of years of negotiation between the various parties at ASTM and years of research on how the properties of biodiesel blends affect engine performance. NREL has conducted extensive research over the past 4 years to support development of these standards, which we believe will lead to an expansion of markets for biodiesel while at the same time ensuring that users have trouble-free performance.” This research was jointly supported by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Biodiesel Board (NBB) under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

Steve Howell, Technical Director for the NBB and Chairman of the ASTM Biodiesel Task Force, noted that the specifications are set on a performance basis for a diesel engine, not on the feedstock or the production process. “These specifications combine the input of engine interests, petroleum interests, and biodiesel interests, as well as government and military representatives, researchers and academics. It took cooperation and a lot of data and information sharing between all those parties to reach consensus. This is an important achievement for the biodiesel industry that will help move us forward.”

ASTM has also approved some updates to its standard for biodiesel, ASTM D6751, which is designed to control pure biodiesel (B100) product quality prior to blending with conventional diesel fuel.

You can find out more by clicking on the ASTM web site:

Also, you can hear the opening statements from today’s press conference by clicking here: [audio:]