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Biodiesel

21 May 2002

The American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM), a premier standard-setting organization in the US, has issued a fuel specification for biodiesel. The ASTM publication of specification D 6751 for all biodiesel fuel bought and sold in the US marks a major milestone for the biodiesel industry.

“Now that the full standard is in place, it sets the bar for all biodiesel production,” said Steve Howell, Chairman of the ASTM Biodiesel Standards Task Force. “It will help protect consumers from poor products and reduce the cost of buying and selling biodiesel. While many adopted the provisional specification in 1999 [PS 121], those that didn’t had to negotiate a specification. With the final passage of D 6751, they won’t have to go through that process any more.”

The biodiesel standard was developed through a consensus process which involved the participation of fuel producers, users, engine makers and others all having an opportunity to provide input. The ASTM Biodiesel Task Force began working on the standard in 1994.

Biodiesel can be used in any diesel engine, usually with no modifications to the engine fuel injection system. It performs comparably to diesel, with similar BTU content and higher cetane. It offers excellent lubricity and lowers several emissions compared to petroleum diesel. D 6751 covers the incorporation of pure biodiesel (B100) into conventional diesel fuel up to 20% by volume (B20). Higher blend levels may be acceptable, depending on the experience of the engine company. Biodiesel is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a fuel and fuel additive.

The standard may be downloaded from the ASTM web site (paid download, $30).

Source: National Biodiesel Board