There is a lot of talk today about creating “green jobs” and how best to train those people to enter the green sector. One of the early adopters of green education was Iowa Central Community College (ICCC). This week, the college announced that they have become the first laboratory to earn accreditation as a BQ-9000 laboratory. This accolade means that the lab has become a national leader in testing biodiesel and biodiesel blends to ensure they meet fuel quality standards.
Don Heck, who runs the nonprofit Iowa Central Fuel Testing Laboratory at ICCC, said in a press statement, “Testing fuel may not sound glamorous, but it is fundamental to the future of the biodiesel and the renewable fuels industry in terms of reliability and consumer confidence.”
Unlike the ethanol industry, which addressed and fixed quality issues back in the 1970s, biodiesel still struggles with quality issues. The BQ-9000 accreditation is the industry’s way of overcoming these fuel quality issues but it is not a mandatory label – it is voluntary. The quality assurance program is overseen by the National Biodiesel Accreditation Commission.
The lab offers cost-effective, rapid testing for biodiesel producers nationwide. It also tests other fuels such as ethanol and petroleum. The team that runs the lab, along with its supporters, hope that the new biodiesel accreditation will attract new customers, including the Iowa Department of Agriculture’s Weights and Measures Bureau, who is in charge of ensuring all fuels meet quality standards before they fill a consumer’s tank.
“Having the first BQ-9000 laboratory located in Iowa will drive business to our state, and further enhances Iowa’s position as a national biodiesel leader,” said Randy Olson, executive director of the Iowa Biodiesel Board, which helped make the lab a reality.
Steve Howell, National Biodiesel Board technical director, said other labs will follow suit, which will help ensure a high quality fuel supply for producers and consumers alike.
“Not every biodiesel plant has its own laboratory to test its fuel, so there is a need for qualified, credible laboratories to test fuel samples,” Howell said. “Becoming accredited is a rigorous process, and the Iowa Central Fuel Testing Laboratory deserves our congratulations for being the first.”