ASTM Voting on Biodiesel Standards at KC Meeting

John Davis

Biodiesel could be divided into two different grades, if some backers of a new grading system at the ASTM meeting this week in Kansas City, Mo.

Biodiesel Magazine reports there are several ballots up for a vote that would have biodiesel graded as No.1 and No.2, much like regular diesel … a proposal backed by the National Biodiesel Board’s technical director Steve Howell:

“The specs we currently have work just fine for 99 percent of the people. The philosophy is like with No.1 and No.2 diesel—No.2 works fine for about everybody, but if for some reason it doesn’t work for you, try premium diesel fuel.”

Not everyone, however, agrees that a No.1/No.2 biodiesel spec would be good for the industry. One source told Biodiesel Magazine that this approach could drive down the price of most biodiesel, what would be No.2, while placing a premium on No.1. It could also discourage use of feedstock with less than desirable cloud point and other properties.

Howell said as diesel fuel and engines change, the biodiesel specification will have to adapt.

The article goes on to say that a new test method allowing the Cognis QTA system to be used for analysis of multiple biodiesel properties is also being considered. NBB officials say, if adopted, it would be the first time an American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS) test method would be adopted into an ASTM method. The benefit would be that it allow suppliers and users to simply put a drop of fuel on the analyzer and get instant analysis for several properties, making the process cheaper and quicker.

Biodiesel, NBB